Thursday, 02 December 2021

Shooting for the Moon: A lunar LoRa achievement

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 24 November 21

Scientists have set a new distance world record for long range (LoRa) communications technology, with a message travelling some 730,360km to the Moon and back

Today, a team of European scientists have announced that they have successfully sent a LoRa message to the Moon and back using an off-the-shelf small radiofrequency chip.    In the test, the LoRa signal was amplified to 350w using the 25…

Today, a team of European scientists have announced that they have successfully sent a LoRa message to the Moon and back using an off-the-shelf small radiofrequency chip. 
 
In the test, the LoRa signal was amplified to 350w using the 25-metre dish of the Dwingeloo Radio Observatory in the Netherlands. This dish was used to both send and receive the signal, which took just under two and a half seconds to make the journey to the Moon and back.
 
The entire message sent was simply ‘PI9CAM’, the call sign of the telescope itself. 
 
The test was conducted by Jan van Muijlwijk, Tammo Jan Dijkema, both of the CAMRAS (CA Muller Radio Astronomy Station) foundation, which operates the Dwingeloo telescope; Thomas Telkamp, CTO of Lacuna Space; and Frank Zeppenfeldt of the European Space Agency.
 
Of course, bouncing signals off the Moon is nothing new, but doing so with LoRa technology is a significant achievement, demonstrating not only the range of LoRa tech for potential IoT applications, but also its potential for use in future lunar communications, such as for satellites and probes.
 
“This is a fantastic experiment. I had never dreamed that one day a LoRa message would travel all the way to the moon and back. I am impressed by the quality of the data captured. This dataset is going to become a classic for radio communications and signal processing students. A big thumbs up to the team and CAMRAS foundation for making this possible,” said Nicolas Sornin, co-inventor of LoRa technology.

 

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