Moon to get its first mobile phone network in 2019

BARCELONA (Reuters) - The moon will get its first mobile phone network next year, enabling high-definition streaming from the lunar landscape back to earth, part of a project to back the first privately funded moon mission.

Vodafone Germany, network equipment maker Nokia and carmaker Audi (VOWG_p.DE) said on Tuesday they were working together to support the mission, 50 years after the first NASA astronauts walked on the moon.

Vodafone said it had appointed Nokia as its technology partner to develop a space-grade network which would be a small piece of hardware weighing less than a bag of sugar.

The companies are working with Berlin-based company PTScientists on the project, with a launch scheduled in 2019 from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Vodafone said.

“This project involves a radically innovative approach to the development of mobile network infrastructure,” Vodafone Germany Chief Executive Hannes Ametsreiter said.

One executive involved said the decision to build a 4G network rather a state-of-the-art 5G network was taken because the next generation networks remain in the testing and trial stage and are not stable enough to ensure they would work from the lunar surface.

RELATED: Photos of the super moon during lunar eclipse: 

25 PHOTOS
Images of the super moon during lunar eclipse
See Gallery
Images of the super moon during lunar eclipse
TOPSHOT - A person poses for a photo as the moon rises over Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California, on January 30, 2018. Many parts of the globe may catch a glimpse on january 31 of a giant crimson moon, thanks to a rare lunar trifecta that combines a blue moon, a super moon and a total eclipse. The spectacle, which NASA has coined a 'super blue blood moon.' / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
A full moon is seen behind the business tower Lakhta Centre, which is under construction in St. Petersburg, Russia January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A blue moon rises over Balboa Park's California Tower in San Diego, California, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The moon sets behind the city of Jerusalem early on January 31, 2018. A cosmic event not seen in 36 years -- a rare 'super blood blue moon' -- may be glimpsed today in parts of western North America, Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Australia. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Jan 30, 2018; Senoia, GA, USA; Delta flight 1789 a MD-90 aircraft from Atlanta to Jacksonville transits across the super moon over the evening sky in Georgia. A rare celestial phenomenon when a super moon, blue moon and total lunar eclipse will take place at the same time in the early morning hours of Jan 31st. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 31: Full moon is seen over Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey on January 31, 2018. (Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The full moon rises from Legazpi City, Albay province, south of Manila on January 31, 2018. Skywatchers were hoping for a rare lunar eclipse that combines three unusual events -- a blue moon, a super moon and a total eclipse -- which was to make for a large crimson moon viewable in many corners of the globe. / AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
SAKHALIN REGION, RUSSIA - JANUARY 31, 2018: A red supermoon rises over hills near the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on Sakhalin Island in Russia's Far East. Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Krasnoukhov\TASS via Getty Images)
YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, RUSSIA - JANUARY 31, 2018: A supermoon rises over trees in the town of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on Sakhalin Island in Russia's Far East. Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Krasnoukhov\TASS via Getty Images)
NAPIER, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 31: Crowds gather on the Marine Parade Beach to watch the moon rise on January 31, 2018 in Napier, New Zealand. A Super Blue Blood Moon is the result of three lunar phenomena happening all at once: not only it it the second full moon in January, but the moon will also be close to its nearest point to Earth on its orbit, and be totally eclipsed by the Earth's shadow. The last time these events coincided was in 1866, 152 years ago. (Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 31: Full moon is seen over Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey on January 31, 2018. (Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The moon sets behind the city of Jerusalem early on January 31, 2018. A cosmic event not seen in 36 years -- a rare 'super blood blue moon' -- may be glimpsed today in parts of western North America, Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Australia. / AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
SAKHALIN REGION, RUSSIA - JANUARY 31, 2018: A red supermoon rises over hills near the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on Sakhalin Island in Russia's Far East. Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Krasnoukhov\TASS via Getty Images)
AMBOY, CA - JANUARY 30: The Moon rises over the Mojave Desert before becoming a so-called 'super blue blood moon' when it becomes totally eclipsed before dawn, on January 30, 2018 near Amboy, California. The 'super blue blood moon' is a rare 'lunar trifecta' event in which the Moon is at its closest to the Earth, appearing about 14 percent brighter than usual, and is simultaneously a 'blue moon', the second full moon in the same month, as well as a total lunar eclipse or 'blood moon'. Such a lunar event that hasn't been seen since 1866. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
AMBOY, CA - JANUARY 30: The Moon rises over the Mojave Desert before becoming a so-called 'super blue blood moon' when it becomes totally eclipsed before dawn, on January 30, 2018 near Amboy, California. The 'super blue blood moon' is a rare 'lunar trifecta' event in which the Moon is at its closest to the Earth, appearing about 14 percent brighter than usual, and is simultaneously a 'blue moon', the second full moon in the same month, as well as a total lunar eclipse or 'blood moon'. Such a lunar event that hasn't been seen since 1866. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 31: Full moon is seen over Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey on January 31, 2018. (Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
View of a full moon rising at dusk, in Cali, Colombia on January 30, 2018. Many parts of the globe may catch a glimpse Wednesday of a giant crimson moon, thanks to a rare lunar trifecta that combines a blue moon, a super moon and a total eclipse. The spectacle, which NASA has coined a 'super blue blood moon,' will grace the pre-dawn skies in the western United States, as the moon crosses into the shadow of the Earth and turns blood red. / AFP PHOTO / Luis ROBAYO (Photo credit should read LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images)
A super moon is seen near rooftop lights in Washington, DC on January 30, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
VAN, TURKEY - JANUARY 29: A halo is seen around a full moon during nightfall in Van, Turkey on January 29, 2018. (Photo by Ozkan Bilgin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 30: A bird flies as Full moon rises over Istanbul, Turkey on January 30, 2018. (Photo by Sebnem Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 31: Full moon is seen over Galata Tower as a boat passes through a strait in Istanbul, Turkey on January 31, 2018. (Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Super moon rise in the sky of Kolkata,India on January 30, 2018. (Photo by Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JANUARY 31, 2018: A red supermoon over the tower of the Lakhta Center, which is under construction in Primorsky District of St Petersburg. Peter Kovalev/TASS (Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images)
YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, RUSSIA - JANUARY 31, 2018: A supermoon rises over trees in the town of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on Sakhalin Island in Russia's Far East. Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Krasnoukhov\TASS via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 30: A bird flies as Full moon rises over Istanbul, Turkey on January 30, 2018. (Photo by Sebnem Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story