Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Long Distance Call

We’ve had man on the moon, but what about man with wireless service on the moon? That’s right—according to Information Week1, NASA and the British National Space Centre are collaborating on a mobile phone system for a future moon colony, said to be built sometime after 2020 on the south pole of the moon.

The mobile phone system—MoonLite—is planned to be a system of satellites that bounce radio signals around the moon in order to send voice and text messages between colonists and robots. Director of space science at the British National Space Centre states that the mobile phone system will resemble the “satellite phone network of the 1980s and 1990s on Earth.” It is also possible that the system could send information around the entire moon as well as to and from Earth. Imagine that for a long distance call.

Unlike our current wireless network here on Earth, the system will be extremely slow. GPRS can transmit data around 80 Kbps (Kilobytes per second) and EDGE can receive data around 200 Kbps. MoonLite will only be able to transmit data at 3Kbps and receive data at 2Kbps. That makes our network look as if it moves at the speed of light.

Although MoonLite’s downlink and uplink speed capacities aren’t exactly ideal, it’s a start. Do you truly think man will be living on the moon after 2020? How do you think MoonLite will hold up in the moon’s atmosphere? I think there is a possibility man will be colonizing the moon after 2020 and I do feel MoonLite will evolve into a faster system over time, just as cellular services have since the 1980s. Perhaps this will be a different world after in about 15 to 20 years, but I’m sure cell phones and good wireless service will still be a part of our everyday lives.

Kimberly Salesky
Marketing Assistant

1. “MoonLite, Moon Bright: NASA To Build Wireless Phone Network On The Moon” by Eric Zeman, Information Week: OvertheAir.

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