Morality, Rights And Responsibilities in Space

As humanity begins to break out into space, the biggest obstacle we must overcome is not gravity or physics. It is ourselves. The outcome of the first Space Race illustrated the truth of this. Using only the technology of the time we were able to fly to the Moon. Yet, having tentatively touched our toes on its dusty surface, we withdrew and began circling our own world for the next 50 years, culturally unable to comprehend that we had stood for a moment on the edge of the universe. The international policies and codes of conduct for space in place today were created in that era when the concepts of colonizing space and utilizing space resources were still in the realm of science fiction. Now, with these prospects becoming increasingly real we have to consider a new approach to human action and interaction in space. In this article, Rick Tumlinson presents his ‘Declaration of the Rights of Humanity in the Universe’, a proposal for guidelines and shared principles for living and working in what is about to become the new reality beyond the boundaries of Earth – an open frontier in space that is owned by no one belongs to everyone and is open to all.

A future mining operation on the Moon, as envisaged by artist James Vaughan, using giant solar mirrors for illuminating a sunless crater.

Today, as we move through the first global catastrophe of the 21st century, we have seen both the best and worst of ourselves. Even as governments failed, science proved right and the people became the frontline heroes of the day. The attack of the coronavirus in fact demonstrates the weakness of top-down control, and a strong argument can be made that it is people themselves, through their own discipline, caring, and mutual support that has done much of the work to save the day. Thus, when I confront the legislative and political barriers to their independent participation in opening the space frontier, I am saddened, appalled, and confused.

Yes, governments made the initial investments in space exploration as part of their Cold War Space Race. But now the children of those times have stepped up into their footprints to take the giant leaps that will transform the future. While some visionary leaders and policymakers work to enable them to succeed, others try to slow them down, and all are stuck trying to re-interpret legal and policy frameworks designed for another era, almost literally trying to drive the future between commas in now obsolete treaties and texts.

Source: ROOM

First 4G Cellular Network On The Moon To Be Built By Nokia

When astronauts on the Moon want to talk to one another, the signals that will be relayed around our nearest celestial neighbor will be done so via Nokia, say the telecommunications giant, as the European firm has been selected by NASA to deploy the first LTE/4G communications system in space.

Chosen as part of NASA’s ‘Partners to Advance ‘Tipping Point’ Technologies for the Moon’, the company Nokia Bell Labs division will build a 4G communications system to be deployed on a lunar lander to the Moon’s surface in late 2022, say the firm.

To start with, the initial proposed Nokia network would be restricted to proximity communications on the lunar surface, providing wireless network coverage around the landing module.

Illustration of a lunar rover communicating with a landing module using Nokia Bell Lab’s LTE/4G self-configuring cellular network. Image: Nokia Bell Labs/Intuitive Machines

This is likely to evolve to providing communications to and from a spacecraft orbiting the Moon.

Nokia was awarded $14.1 million out of a $370 million innovations development award offered by the US space agency to help them forge ahead with their Artemis program.

“Nokia’s LTE network – the precursor to 5G – is ideally suited for providing wireless connectivity for any activity that astronauts need to carry out, enabling voice and video communications capabilities, telemetry, and biometric data exchange, and deployment and control of robotic and sensor payloads,” Nokia said recently in a press release.

Inspired by Earth-based communications technologies, Nokia Bell Labs said they will “space-harden” their communications system and make it ultra-compact and low-power to cope with the extreme conditions faced on the Moon.

Communication is critical for any private company or governmental agency wanting to establish a permanent presence on the Moon, and although television shows and movies can make communicating with people in space look easy, it isn’t.

Interference, latency, bandwidth restrictions, and high data rates must all be overcome by ground networks and space relays in order to communicate effectively.

Technology advancements such as the one proposed by Nokia could make lunar calling plans much easier in the near future.

“Leveraging our rich and successful history in space technologies, from pioneering satellite communication to discovering the cosmic microwave background radiation produced by the Big Bang, we are now building the first-ever cellular communications network on the Moon,” says Marcus Weldon, Chief Technology Officer at Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs President.

The Finnish telecommunications equipment maker has enlisted the help of US-firm Intuitive Machines which NASA chose to build a small “hopper lander” to carry out high-resolution surveys of the lunar surface;

Nokia will use the lander to deliver the communications system to the lunar surface and once deployed the network will “self-configure” to establish the first LTE communications system on the Moon.

“Reliable, resilient, and high-capacity communications networks will be key to supporting sustainable human presence on the lunar surface,” Weldon said. “By building the first high-performance wireless network solution on the Moon, Nokia Bell Labs is once again planting the flag for pioneering innovation beyond the conventional limits.”

Source: ROOM