NASA is reportedly studying the possibility of establishing a Wi-Fi network on the moon. This study comes as part of NASA’s effort to acknowledge inadequate access to the internet across parts of the United States and will also help provide information for future missions of Artemis.
Mary Lobo, the Director of Technology Incubation and Innovation at NASA’s Glenn Research Center stated that this study exhibits a great opportunity for developing solutions to the challenges faced while sending astronauts to the moon under the Artemis missions. She added that it also addresses a surging societal problem in the country.
NASA has reportedly identified lack of access to sufficient internet service and digital inequality as a socioeconomic issue across the United States, which has been aggravated since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. A National Digital Inclusion Alliance report suggests that around 31% of households in Cleveland have no access to broadband connectivity.
Following this, economic development organization Greater Cleveland Partnership, approached NASA’s Glenn Research Center to assess the technical issues of digital inequality and see if there is a possibility of resolving the digital divide on Earth.
To understand the feasibility of such a network on the Moon, the team at Compass Lab in the Glenn Research Center assessed the operability of a terrestrial network in a nearby neighborhood in Cleveland, according to Steve Oleson, NASA Glenn’s Compass Lab lead.
The study compared an area around the city with a lunar surface area to address the technical issues related to the connectivity of Wi-Fi around the local area. While the equipment would be different owing to varying lunar and Earth environments, the Wi-Fi frequencies might be the same as the ones on Earth, as per Oleson.
The outcomes of the study will be provided to the mission planners at NASA, for future Artemis missions and possibly for future basecamp designs. For those unversed, the Artemis program was launched in 2020 and aims at conducting crewed lunar landings for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission.