In 2018, there were reports of a large saltwater lake found at Mars’ south pole. Now planetary researchers have confirmed its presence, along with 3 more sub-surface water bodies. Even SOFIA has detected water on moon. Meanwhile Nokia’s (NOK) Bell Labs has signed a deal with NASA to set up a 4G network on the moon. Is it time to go to space for your next vacation?
Crux of the Matter
Water Discovered On Moon
Using NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), water has been found on the sunlit surface of the Moon, in Clavius Crater. This indicates that water molecules may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to the cold, shadowed places only.
Nokia and NASA
NASA has awarded Nokia’s Bell Labs, a grant of $14.1 million to deploy a 4G cellular network on the moon, in order to support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds and more reliability than current standards. Nokia plans to partner with spaceflight company, Intuitive Machines for the entire 4G network layout.
NASA’s “Tipping Point” Project
NASA has a 2028 goal to build a moon base and sustain a human presence later on. So it has already dedicated $370 million to lunar innovations including remote power generation, cryogenic freezing, safer landing etc. 4G setup and eventually 5G, is a part of this grant.
Will Moon Have Better Network Than Earth?
Yes, 4G has the potential to work better on the moon due to the absence of trees, buildings, or TV signals, that interfere with the cellular network here. It will be designed to withstand extreme temperature, radiation, and space’s vacuum while staying functional during lunar landings and launches, even with significant vibrations.
So Can Astronauts Tweet Their Lunar Rover Selfies?
Yes, Nokia says astronauts can use its wireless network for controlling moon rovers, real-time navigation over lunar geography, and streaming high-definition videos from space.
Lakes Discovered On Mars
The discovery published by Nature Astronomy was made using radar data from the ESA (European Space Agency)’s Mars-orbiting spacecraft, Mars Express. It followed the detection of a single subsurface lake in the same region in 2018, by using a data set comprising 134 observations from 2012 to 2019.
The Eureka Moment For MARSIS
A radar instrument called the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) was being used to probe the planet’s southern polar region when it found bodies of liquid water trapped under more than 1km of Martian ice.
How Does MARSIS Work?
The instrument sends out radio waves, which bounce off layers of material in the planet’s subsurface and surface area. The way this signal is reflected back indicates the type of material that is present at a particular location, like say rock, ice, or water, for example. MARSIS works similar to the glacial lake detection method used on Earth.
What Do We Know About The 4 Lakes?
The lakes are spread out over 75,000 sqkm, an area which is roughly 1/5th the size of Germany. The largest, central lake is 30km wide and is surrounded by 3 smaller lakes, each a few km in size. However, it is yet to be confirmed, whether they are made of water or sludge. The Chinese mission, Tianwen-1 can verify these claims, on the way to Mars, after it launches in February 2021.
- Apollo 17 was the last manned moon landing that took place in 1972. No manned moon landing has taken place ever since.
- After the failed soft landing of Chandrayaan 2, ISRO is planning to launch a similar Chandrayaan 3 mission in the second quarter of 2021. It will only include a lander and a rover.
- Ganymede, Jupiter’s moon, is the largest moon in the Solar System. It is bigger than Mercury.
- Due to Moon’s weaker gravity than Earth, a Person would weigh about one-sixth (16.5%) of its weight on Earth.
- Project A119 was a top-secret plan by the United States to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon. Americans were falling behind the space race and this was planned to show the force of the United States and boost the morale of American Scientists.