Thanks Elana Freeland
A European group of scientists has announced plans to be the first commercial company to land on the Moon, with a launch expected next year.
Part Time Scientists, or PTScientists, hopes to send a pair of small rovers to the final landing site of the US Apollo programme. The rovers will hitch a ride on Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The Berlin-based company announced it has also partnered with Vodafone to work on the first mobile data station on the Moon, which will provide a way for lunar rovers to communicate with Earth.
“This is a crucial first step for sustainable exploration of the solar system,” said Robert Boehme, CEO of PTScientists. “In order for humanity to leave the cradle of Earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet. With 'Mission to the Moon' we will establish and test the first elements of a dedicated communications network on the Moon.”
A lunar lander, called Alina, will double up as a communications base station, helping manned missions to the Moon. The station will use LTE technology, which is already used in a billion mobile devices on Earth.
PTScientists hopes to send a pair of small rovers to the final landing site of the US Apollo programme
“Our rovers are packed with sensors and equipped with high-definition cameras,” said electrical engineer and rover driver Karsten Becker. “We will be collecting a lot of scientific data on the Moon and the high-speed data connectivity that LTE gives us will enable the rovers to communicate with Alina to send that valuable data back to Earth”.
LTE uses less energy than traditional radio communications. This means, the company hopes, large amounts of data can be transferred from rovers to Earth, via ALINA, without draining their batteries.
“The less energy we use sending data, the more we have to do science,” said Boehme. “Together with the PTScientists we are embarking on a journey to space, enabling Germany’s first private Moon landing. All whilst establishing the first LTE network in space,” said Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO of Vodafone Germany.
“With this step we are laying the groundwork for all future moon missions to come."
Last month, Elon Musk announced he will be sending two space tourists to the Moon in 2018. In a blog post, SpaceX said the unnamed pair has "already paid a significant deposit to do a Moon mission."
"When Elon Musk sends his first private passengers to Orbit the Moon in 2018 or Esa opens the doors of its Moon village, our network will already be there," added Ametsreiter.
How are they going to get through the Van Allen radiation belt? NASA says you can't.
I looked it up.