By B.N. Frank
Opposition and warnings continue to increase about 4G being installed on the Moon AS WELL AS tens of thousands of satellites being launched to blast 5G and WiFi back at Earth (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15). Now more astronomers are voicing their concerns.
From The Conversation:
A 4G network on the Moon is bad news for radio astronomy
As you drive down the road leading to Jodrell Bank Observatory, a sign asks visitors to turn off their mobile phones, stating that the Lovell telescope is so powerful it could detect a phone signal on Mars.
Radio telescopes are designed to be incredibly sensitive. To quote the legendary astronomer Carl Sagan, “The total amount of energy from outside the solar system ever received by all the radio telescopes on the planet Earth is less than the energy of a single snowflake striking the ground.”
The total energy now is probably a few snowflakes’ worth, but nevertheless it is still true that astronomical radio signals are typically magnitudes smaller than artificial ones. If Jodrell Bank could pick up interference from a phone signal on Mars, how would it fare with an entire 4G network on the Moon?
That is the issue that is worrying astronomers like me, now that Nokia of America has been awarded US$14.1m (£10.8m) for the development of the first ever cellular network on the Moon. The LTE/4G network will aim to facilitate long term lunar habitability, providing communications for key aspects such as lunar rovers and navigation.
Radio frequency interference (RFI) is the long-term nemesis of radio astronomers. Jodrell Bank – the earliest radio astronomy observatory in the world still in existence – was created because of RFI.