“PRIME-1 will be the first demonstration of finding and extracting resources on the Moon. Advancing these types of technologies are critical to establishing a robust, long-term presence in deep space, including at the Moon as part of the agency’s Artemis missions. Simply operating and drilling into the tough lunar surface will provide valuable insight to engineers for future lunar missions, such as the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, mission, which is slated to land at the lunar South Pole in late 2023.
While PRIME-1 will investigate the resources below the lunar surface, Nokia will set out to test its space-hardened 4G/LTE network. A small rover developed by Lunar Outpost will venture more than a mile away from the Nova-C lander and test Nokia’s wireless network at various distances. The rover will communicate to a base station located on Nova-C, and the lander will communicate data back to Earth. This demonstration could pave the way for a commercial 4G/LTE system for mission-critical communications on the lunar surface. This includes communications and even high-definition video streaming from astronauts to base stations, vehicles to base stations, and more.
Nearby, Intuitive Machines’ Micro-Nova will aim to deploy to the surface and hop into a nearby crater to acquire pictures and science data before hopping out. It will then send the data back to Nova-C. Micro-Nova can carry a two-pound payload more than 1.5 miles to access lunar craters and enable high-resolution surveying of the lunar surface. This demonstration could help pave the way for additional commercial lunar exploration services. In the future, scientists may have the opportunity to outfit a hopper with their own small science instruments, such as cameras, seismometers, lunar ranging systems, and more.” Scitechdaily