Nokia heads to the moon for ice mining experiment

The National Aeronautics & Space Agency (NASA) has announced plans to launch a shuttle to the moon containing an Intuitive Machines lander, hopper robot and a Nokia network.

The Nokia network will support an ice mining experiment on the moon that will see NASA seek and extract resources around the lunar South Pole’s Shackleton crater during 2022.

Nokia president Pekka Lundmark described it as “exciting news” that the Finnish telecoms giant would be involved in the lunar expedition.

NASA data from spacecraft previously orbiting the Moon has indicated this location, referred to as the “Shackleton connecting ridge,” could have ice below the surface. The area receives sufficient sunlight to power a lander for roughly a 10-day mission, while also providing a clear line of sight to Earth for constant communications using a bespoke 4G/LTE network developed by Nokia.

The NASA-funded Polar Resources Ice-Mining Experiment-1 (PRIME-1) will see a drill, known as The Regolith Ice Drill for Exploring New Terrain (TRIDENT), attempt to drill up to three feet deep, extract lunar soil – called regolith – and deposit it on the surface for water analysis. PRIME-1’s other instrument, the Mass Spectrometer, will observe lunar operations (MSolo) and measure volatile gases that readily escape from the material excavated by TRIDENT in the first demonstration of finding and extracting resources from the Moon.

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