Artist's conception of LunaNet being used by astronauts Credit: NASA/Reese Patillo
LunaNet, moon 

LunaNet: A Flexible and Extensible Lunar Exploration Communication and Navigation Infrastructure

By Katherine Schauer

September 12, 2019

On June 11, 2019, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center presented LunaNet, a lunar communications and navigation architecture that will bring networking, positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) and science services to the Moon.

With the LunaNet architecture in place, robotic landers, rovers and astronauts on the Moon will have network access similar to networks on Earth. Rovers analyzing samples can send their data to relays orbiting the Moon, which can then transmit that data back to Earth. Astronauts on the lunar surface will be able to receive real-time alerts generated from space weather instruments of incoming solar flares, giving them ample time to seek cover. Each communications link will be a connection to the larger network, allowing data transfers between any assets on the network. LunaNet will also support PNT services and allow for more precise surface operations and science than ever before.

Goddard continues to lead the LunaNet architecture activities, refining a flexible solution to enable exploration and science activities. The LunaNet architecture can be provided by a combination of NASA, commercial partners, international partners and others. This flexibility will be critical as NASA moves forward with its plans for both lunar and solar system exploration, allowing LunaNet to grow in a manner analogous to the development of the internet on Earth.

Questions about the LunaNet Concept?

David Israel, ESC Architect