Phone home? 4G network to launch on the moon

You might not be able to access mobile phone coverage during your summer countryside getaway, but high-speed 4G connectivity will soon be available on the moon.

In an announcement sure to frustrate those still lacking fast enough internet to stream Netflix in their own living rooms, Vodafone Germany and Nokia have revealed plans to create the first 4G lunar network by 2019.

The mobile network companies are working with German-based private space firm PTScientists, which is working towards an unprecedented privately funded moon landing.

Scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida next year, the mission will see two Audi lunar quattro rovers flown into space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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Image:Cape Canaveral was the scene of the historic SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch earlier this month

Robert Bohme, the founder and chief executive of PTScientists, said: "This is a crucial first step for sustainable exploration of the solar system.

"In order for humanity to leave the cradle of Earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet."

The 4G network will connect the rovers to a base station on the rocket, allowing the vehicles to communicate and transfer high-definition video.

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Video:Video: The Space X Falcon Heavy launch

Keen to mark the 45th anniversary of the final Apollo mission in 1972, last year PTScientists announced its intention for the rovers to return to the site of the landing.

With the 4G network in place, the rovers will be able to transmit images of the old vehicle, which has been on the moon ever since Apollo 17 landed in December that year.

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Earlier this month, NASA reiterated its own ambition to return to the moon by announcing plans for a lunar outpost to help humans get back there by 2023.

History was made at Cape Canaveral just a few weeks ago, when the world's most powerful rocket – the SpaceX Falcon Heavy – successfully blasted off into space.

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