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posted by Fnord666 on Friday August 11, @05:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the can-you-hear-me-now? dept.

Can you hear me now?

An astronaut wandering the moon next year could use a smartphone to call home. A German startup is preparing to set up the first telecommunication infrastructure on the lunar surface.

The German company Part Time Scientists, which originally competed for the Google Lunar X Prize race to the moon, plans to send a lander with a rover in late 2018 to visit the landing site of Apollo 17. (Launched in 1972, this was NASA's final Apollo mission to the moon.) Instead of using a complex dedicated telecommunication system to relay data from the rover to the Earth, the company will rely on LTE technology — the same system used on Earth for mobile phone communications.

"We are cooperating with Vodafone in order to provide LTE base stations on the moon," Karsten Becker, who heads embedded electronics development and integration for the startup, told Space.com.

Try to get free bandwidth on the Moon, I dare you.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @05:31PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @05:31PM (#552450)

    Try to get free bandwidth on the Moon, I dare you.

    I accept your dare.

    vodafone free internet tricks [ixquick.eu]

    Wow look at all those search results.

    Considering that I'm getting free bandwidth from Sprint at this very moment, and I know all the tricks, well ... you just made a very bad bet.

    Here's where I give you rope to mock me. Oh well sure it's only 96kbps theoretical maximum and I'm getting like 91kbps right now. Who cares if it's fucking free bandwidth from Sprint when it's slow as shit. I'm such a loser and I should feel bad for being a loser because I'm a loser. Hahaha lol fuck me.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @05:51PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @05:51PM (#552457)

      If you think it's slow now, just wait until you've got a 0.3s latency minimum for a packet to bounce to the moon and back.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @05:57PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @05:57PM (#552461)

        Oh goody 28kbps. I can still browse ASCII porn.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @06:00PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @06:00PM (#552464)

        More like 2.4 seconds round trip, when the moon is about 1.2 light seconds away from earth at perigee.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @06:10PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @06:10PM (#552472)

          That's what I get for doing sloppy math, thanks for correcting the record.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @07:00PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @07:00PM (#552501)

          Woo-hoo! 600 baud!

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Saturday August 12, @10:49AM

          by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @10:49AM (#552822) Journal

          Yes, but park a fileserver on the Moon constantly beaming all songs and movies back to the Earth and see how the *AA's like them apples.

          --
          Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @05:59PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @05:59PM (#552463)

    > An astronaut wandering the moon next year could use a smartphone to call home

    Ok. So the astronaut is walking along merrily. He wants to call mom to tell her about the coolness of it all. He reaches into his pocket and realizes he can't use his touchscreen with spacesuit gloves.

    But he is crafty: pressing the smartphone tightly to his helmet he screams at the top of his lungs "MOOTHEERR!!". And behold! The vibrations carry into the phone and are enough to activate voice dial.

    A little later, his mother complains about shitty voice quality and his constant coughing. The moon being bad for bis health, he should return ASASP (as soon as son-ly possible, i.e. right-the-fuck now and don't you dare think of not doing it!) to help her with the dripping faucet.

    Thank you, LTE. Thank you mobile phone. Good bye moon.

    • (Score: 0, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @06:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @06:08PM (#552471)

      Mama's boy shouldn't have had all that incestuous sex, now mom's craving son's cock real bad and son can't travel anywhere without getting calls about how unsatisfied mom is.

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Friday August 11, @06:26PM (2 children)

      by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 11, @06:26PM (#552482) Journal

      You are aware that LTE is a data communication standard? So the astronaut will (try to) send Twitter messages instead.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @06:45PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @06:45PM (#552491)

        It gets worse. TFA quotes the startup idiot as saying they plan to do video chat from the moon.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @08:54PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @08:54PM (#552576)

          Live video chat between earth and moon is certainly practical. It will be noticably laggy which will make talking annoying but nothing that can't be solved by social conventions, similar to what you might see on a live news broadcast with remote interviewees.

          The base station on the moon won't using LTE to communicate with the earth, that part is for the handset-base station link. Then there will presumably be some sort of communications relay, probably involving at least one earth-orbiting satellites too so it can work throughout the day.

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday August 11, @06:37PM (2 children)

    by bob_super (1357) on Friday August 11, @06:37PM (#552486)

    > Instead of using a complex dedicated telecommunication system to relay data from the rover to the Earth

    Yeah because LTE is a trivial system which doesn't build on decades on engineering...
    And space-hardening all that processing is totally like, say, using bluetooth to connect your Galaxy phone to the rover.
    And off-the-shelf LTE base stations will totally operate fine on the moon, all the electronics and the antennas, so we don't need no silly NASA-style wasteful "dedicated telecommunication system".

    Excuse me while I go find a barf bag...

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 11, @06:42PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday August 11, @06:42PM (#552488) Journal

      And space-hardening all that processing is totally like, say, using bluetooth to connect your Galaxy phone to the rover.
      And off-the-shelf LTE base stations will totally operate fine on the moon, all the electronics and the antennas, so we don't need no silly NASA-style wasteful "dedicated telecommunication system".

      If you read the article, it sounds like they are doing little if any hardening, and they expect the hardware to die very quickly. Then they will do it the correct way in 2020 for the second mission.

      --
      [SIG] 04/14/2017: Soylent Upgrade v13 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @06:48PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @06:48PM (#552493)

        Their plan will never work and Part Time Scientists are full time grifters running an investment scam like all startups.

  • (Score: 2) by Snow on Friday August 11, @07:01PM (3 children)

    by Snow (1601) on Friday August 11, @07:01PM (#552503) Journal

    If you had a really good antenna, would you be able to connect to it from Earth?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @07:12PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @07:12PM (#552510)

      If you had a really strong transmitter, could you stingray the astronauts?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @09:32PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @09:32PM (#552598)

        We might want to figure out the water situation on the moon before we send any stingrays there.

    • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Friday August 11, @09:42PM

      by isostatic (365) on Friday August 11, @09:42PM (#552600) Journal

      I suspect not - GSM has a limit based on the speed of light, you have to be within x milliseconds of the antenna for it to work - about 25 miles if I remember correctly.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by krishnoid on Friday August 11, @07:20PM (2 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Friday August 11, @07:20PM (#552517)

    Wouldn't they have to actually land on the moon first? And we all know *that* never happened.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @07:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @07:27PM (#552522)

      You actually have a valid point since "Part Time Scientists" haven't done jack shit other than making movie props.

    • (Score: 1) by nnet on Friday August 11, @09:01PM

      by nnet (5716) on Friday August 11, @09:01PM (#552582)

      no. one does not have to land on it to achieve this.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @08:05PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @08:05PM (#552548)

    Does anyone else think the Apollo landing sites should be considered historical and left undisturbed?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @08:59PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @08:59PM (#552580)

    Try to get free bandwidth on the Moon, I dare you.

    Try to get free bandwidth on the Earth, I dare you.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 11, @09:08PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday August 11, @09:08PM (#552586) Journal
      --
      [SIG] 04/14/2017: Soylent Upgrade v13 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @09:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @09:24PM (#552594)

        Yes I did now let me switch LTE providers from Sprint to T-Mobile.

        2.5 Mbps of free bandwidth from T-Mobile. Verily I am living the dream.

    • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Saturday August 12, @02:53AM (2 children)

      by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <jmorrisNO@SPAMbeau.org> on Saturday August 12, @02:53AM (#552709)

      Freedompop will give you 1/2GB of data and 200 minutes of talk* for 100% totally free other than a one time charge for their SIM card. So long as you can connect to Sprint's 4G network with hardware you own, from where you are, as fallback to 3G is a chargeable addon feature. They also have offers based on reselling other carriers. Of course that ain't a lot of data and they want to upsell you.

      The connection is data only so voice is delivered via VOIP but not billed to your data usage. Quality will therefore vary.

      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Saturday August 12, @05:50AM (1 child)

        by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 12, @05:50AM (#552761) Journal

        other than a one time charge for their SIM card.

        So not 100% free, but rather prepaid at purchase time.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday August 12, @06:33AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Saturday August 12, @06:33AM (#552773) Journal

    Is there any data on how they arrange the backhaul?
    Will they use radiation hardened products or take a chance on a commercial version?

    And it I'll guess the LTE will spew enough EMI to make radio astronomy from Moon worse.

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