WiFi On The Moon

NASA Solicitation: Microwave and Communications Systems Branch Surface Wireless Concepts

"NASA is currently developing an architecture and concept of operations for communications and tracking on the lunar surface or other small planetary bodies. Under the Constellation Program, there will be vehicles, habitats, science equipment, and EVA crewmembers on the lunar surface. There is a strong belief that long haul communications direct to Earth, or to a lunar relay satellite system, will be traditional point-to-point microwave links at S-Band or Ka-Band, and/or optical communication links. These will be implemented via "gateway nodes" on the lunar surface, such as a Ka-Band or optical transmitter on the Altair Lunar Lander. Short range communications between various entities and the gateway nodes needs to be implemented.

Using an international standard, such as something based on the IEEE 802.xx family, appears to be ideal for surface short range communications. For example, EVA crew members or science packages could be connected to Altair or a lunar rover via 802.16 or 802.11. Some systems will be fixed while others, such as EVA crew members and rovers, will be mobile. The network will need to support voice, data / telemetry, and multiple streams of standard and high definition video. The Constellation Program's communications architecture is IP based and that is expected to continue on the lunar surface."

Whatever architecture is developed should also be suitable for surface communications at other destinations in the solar system, such as on an asteroid or on a moon of Mars. With limited technology development funds, having a destination independent architecture is critical.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on September 19, 2009 1:48 PM.

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