NASA Wants to Put Wi-Fi on the Moon

by Michael Freeman
(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

When I moved to my new apartment, one of the first things I did was ensure my Wi-Fi was the best available. NASA is taking that line of thinking a step further with a study proposing Wi-Fi on the moon.

Fox News reports a NASA study suggested a lunar Wi-Fi network could help areas on Earth that lack reliable internet. NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland conducted the study at the Compass Lab. The objective was to address Earth’s internet connection concerns as a test-case for space. The study examined local Cleveland neighborhoods and compared them to a prospective Artemis base near the moon’s south pole.

Trying for a two birds, one stone approach, the Greater Cleveland Partnership reached out to NASA. The latter organization helps with economic development and wanted to bring good Wi-Fi to almost 31 percent of Cleveland households without internet access.

Catherine Tkachyk, Cuyahoga County’s (Cleveland’s county) chief innovation and performance officer sees promise. “If they can build that network on the moon I feel like we should be able to build it here!” she said. “I never really thought about how work in space could apply to the work that we do here…it’s a really strong foundation going forward for solutions and that’s what we want.”

NASA’s study found attaching Wi-Fi routers to roughly 20,000 utility poles or lampposts would help connectivity problems. If routers were placed no further than 100 yards from one another, a typical Cleveland household could achieve speeds of about 7.5 megabits per second download speed.

The lunar Wi-Fi idea is still conceptual for now. Nonetheless, if successful, it could pave the way for reliable internet access in other places, too.

NASA Sends Two Astronauts to SpaceX

In other NASA-related news, the organization recently made the rare move of transferring two of its astronauts to SpaceX.

Unfortunately, one of its Boeing missions is experiencing sluggish development. As a result, astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann will join the SpaceX Crew-5 mission crew. NASA released a press release, saying the decision also serves as a way for the two to garner extra experience. “NASA decided it was important to make these reassignments to allow Boeing time to complete the development of Starliner while continuing plans for astronauts to gain spaceflight experience for the future needs of the agency’s missions.”

Mann provided her own statement, saying she is thankful and excited. “It has been the opportunity of a lifetime to train on a brand-new spacecraft, the Boeing Starliner, and it has been fantastic to work with the Boeing team. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to train on another new spacecraft – the SpaceX Crew Dragon – and appreciate the teams at NASA who have made that possible. I am ready to fly and serve on the International Space Station.”

Despite the mission difficulties, NASA reports shooting for a 2022 mission window.