Researchers from the European Space Agency (ESA) have presented a GPS project for the moon. It can be implemented by 2023.
The researchers explained that on Earth, global communication and navigation systems operate with the help of a huge number of satellites that orbit the planet. Now the European Space Agency (ESA) wants to deploy the same system on the moon.
Through ESA’s Moonlight project, scientists will make different points on the moon more connected to each other to enable communication and navigation. Their goal is to attract private companies to create what ESA calls “a lunar constellation of satellites and base stations that provide uninterrupted communication with the Earth.”
“With so many countries embarking on their lunar programs, Moonlight will maintain a permanent lunar space station that revolves around the moon,” the ESA said.
Satellites will help rovers navigate the lunar surface and remotely control rovers from Earth. Such an operation would be impossible to carry out on Mars, there the communication delay would be 20 minutes. However, on the Moon, the delay will only take a few seconds. Thus, control of a rover on the moon is possible in almost real time.
The system will also aid in the landing of spacecraft and could allow missions to land on the far side of the moon. Radio astronomers are particularly interested in creating a telescope on the far side of the Moon to observe the universe without interference from the Earth’s atmosphere, and because the Moon will block radio emission from Earth so that they can see further at different wavelengths.
The researchers also noted that such a system could make missions to the moon easier and more affordable. ESA noted that “having one system dedicated to lunar telecommunications and navigation can reduce the complexity of the design, freeing missions to focus on their core activities. Since missions can rely on dedicated telecommunications and navigation services, they will be easier to navigate. This would make room for more scientific instruments or other cargo. ”
The project is still in its early stages, now two industrial consortia will study the concept to see how feasible it is. It could start in 2023.