Will we be able to access Wi-Fi on Moon soon?
Move over Starlink, NASA's new study has pitched a plan to help America's internet coverage issues. It entails setting up the internet on the Moon for when we colonize its surface. A byproduct would be reliable internet access on Earth as well. This comes as an effort to address the unequal distribution of access to decently fast internet across the US. Here's more.
GCP approached NASA for help bridging digital inequality
This wild idea originated when an economic development organization called the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) approached NASA for assistance with bridging digital inequality. Moreover, Cleveland is home to the space agency's Glenn Research Center and a study by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance found that 31% of the city's households don't have broadband internet. This set the premise for NASA to step in.
Pleased to establish a mutually beneficial study with GCP: NASA
NASA parallelly acknowledged that connectivity would eventually be a problem on the Moon, once its colonization is initialized by the fast-approaching Artemis mission launch deadline. Now that NASA has three good reasons to help solve internet connectivity issues in (areas like) Cleveland and on the Moon, it's about time we looked at what it plans to do.
Router mesh network would deliver decent connectivity for schoolwork, shopping
NASA's Compass Lab at Glenn applied lunar connectivity solutions to the problem in Cleveland. Its study found that attaching 20,000 Wi-Fi routers to lampposts would solve Cleveland's connectivity issues. NASA claims that spaced 100 yards apart, the routers would deliver 7.5 Mbps download speeds to a four-person home. Moving routers closer would greatly improve bandwidth, the space agency added.
Local government already inviting proposals to implement NASA's plan
Based on the space agency's study, Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is, has issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking estimates from companies interested in providing affordable internet access in the county. The county's chief innovation and performance officer Catherine Tkachyk said, "NASA's work helps set the stage for evaluation of the RFP responses to determine the most effective plan for connecting our neighborhoods."
Wi-Fi frequencies on Moon and Earth could be the same
Speaking of internet connectivity on the Moon, NASA conceptualized a Cleveland-like basecamp for humans at Malapert Massif near the Moon's south pole. The camp meets NASA's requirements for sun exposure, in-situ resource utilization, and line-of-sight communications with Earth. Lunar internet would facilitate high-rate communications between surface explorers on the Moon including astronauts, rovers, landers, and habitats. However many unknowns remain.
So, can we have Wi-Fi on Moon in near future?
NASA's idea of lunar Wi-Fi remains largely theoretical. Scientists admit that while lunar Wi-Fi won't have to deal with interference from other appliances like on Earth, it also won't have electricity, infrastructure, and a root-level internet connection to begin with. That said, it's probably time we thought of a Wi-Fi network name for the Moon, yes?