In the next few years, a number of new expeditions to the moon are planned. Starting as early as next year, Japan, China, India, Russia and the United Arab Emirates plan to release lunar landers and spacecraft to explore the mountains and valleys of the celestial body in various projects. And in 2024, the American space agency NASA plans to once again, for the first time in more than 50 years, let astronauts
walk bounce on the moon.
A little further ahead, there are also plans for a permanent lunar base. So now is the time to spruce up the moon's digital infrastructure, according to ESA and Nasa.
Today, lunar travelers rely on signals from large, costly networks of antennas on Earth to navigate to the right place. Instead of a precision of a few meters that you get from devices here on planet Earth, the person who is to land on the moon must be grateful if the position does not deviate more than a few kilometers.
Therefore, ESA and NASA have now commissioned two consortia to develop plans for how the moon can be equipped with its own network of satellites.
"A robust and reliable navigation and telecommunications system will make the dozens of planned lunar missions more cost-effective, and enable even smaller countries to become space-traveling nations that inspire future generations of scientists and engineers" said Elodi Viau at ESA in a press release. .
Conference calls from the dark side of the moon
In addition to facilitating navigation, the satellites will make it possible to send large amounts of information faster than today, for example from the back of the moon. The connection there is so bad that the American astronaut Michael Collins felt "alone in a way that no earth creature has ever been before", when in 1969 he orbited around the moon, waiting for his fellow travelers Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to return from the excursion down on the surface of the celestial body.
This should not be the case when you are on or near the moon, according to ESA and Nasa.
"Now we have all got used to video meetings. Who knows, maybe we will be able to skype from the moon" says Elodi Viau.
As plans look now, the satellites could be in place by the end of this decade.