Wi-Fi has hit the moon. Researchers from the National Aeronautics Space Agency (NASA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sent a Wi-Fi signal to the moon from White Sands, New Mexico. It is hard to fathom how rapidly Wi-Fi has become available over the entire planet and now Wi-Fi is even available on the moon.
The speed of the Wi-Fi signal was faster than many Wi-Fi signals used on Earth. The Wi-Fi technology that was used to send the signal to the moon is newly developed and advanced.
Details about this lunar Wi-Fi technology will be presented at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics starting June 8, 2014 in San Jose, CA. The presentations will certainly be full of information about how this technology works and how it was developed, but it will be interesting to see if there are also presentations on why Wi-Fi was developed for the moon. Hopefully, the scientists at this conference will also explain who they expect will be using Wi-Fi signaling on the moon.
For a few decades, people have been discussing the problem of space debris and there has been concern about having too many satellites being put in our atmosphere. Many satellites that are defunct have accumulated in the Earth’s atmosphere and they just float in orbit around the Earth. These defunct satellites can hit other satellites that are still working, which could disrupt communications. Cell phone signals bounce from cell phone towers to satellites back and forth and a damaged satellite could disable cell phone use. This would disrupt businesses, governments and the daily lives of many people.
Wi-Fi signals, along with cell phone signals, can be considered another form of space debris. Wi-Fi and cell phone signals are energy waves that travel all throughout the spaces around us, through walls and buildings and through the body. It has only been in the last few years that the prevalence of cell phones has grown such that almost everyone now has a smart phone. Not too long ago, Wi-Fi was only available in a few places, like coffee houses and hotels. Now every business, every university, airports and many homes have Wi-Fi.
Health concerns have been raised about the extent of Wi-Fi and cell phone signals and how they may be affecting the cells and physiological systems of the body. At this point, most people are not too worried about these communication signals affecting their health. Cell phones and Wi-Fi have become too important in work and personal lives for people to even begin to contemplate the effects on health.
Now that Wi-Fi is even on the moon, we can only speculate on the extent to which this technology will change humanity. Who will use Wi-Fi on the moon? Is the availability of Wi-Fi on the moon a hint that there will be a colony of humans living on the moon in the not-so-distant future? If so, what are the odds that the first astronaut to tweet back from the moon will send a tweet saying “Beam me up, Scotty” or “ET go home”?
By Margaret Lutze