14 Nov 2009

NASA discovers 'significant' water on Moon

4:34 pm on 14 November 2009

US space agency NASA says a "significant amount" of frozen water has been found on the Moon, boosting hopes there could one day be a permanent lunar base.

In October, NASA intentionally crashed a rocket and a probe into a crater near the Moon's south pole.

The impact revealed almost 100 litres of water in the form of vapour and ice, and scientists believe much more could still be concealed under the surface.

The agency hopes the ice, accumulated over billions of years, could hold a record of the solar system's history.

The findings will confirm the rebirth of the Moon as the planetary object of greatest interest to scientists around the world, the BBC reports.

The water could also be used to support a manned base, providing fuel and sustenance for long-term human exploration.

Several countries are now planning lunar missions, including China, Russia, India and Japan.