As if conquering the airwaves on earth (even Mount Everest was not spared) was not enough, NASA scientist along with the British National Space Center (BNSC) plan on taking the cell phone service to the moon. If plans go right, then Astronauts and robots exploring the moon’s surface will only be a text message away after the system goes live later this century. Astronauts can expect a full four-bar signal when they start living in the base NASA wants to build at the south pole of the moon after 2020. Phone calls and other information would be bounced off satellites orbiting the moon for communication between colonists, the moon base and the earth. The early lunar system will be comparable to the “satellite phone network of the 1980s and 1990s on earth”.
The joint NASA/BNSC MoonLite mission, due to be launched after 2012, will test a prototype version of the satellite phone network similar to the Inmarsat network on Earth.
Data throughput in the MoonLite system would range from up to 3kbps for the downlink and up to 2kbps for the uplink.