The last man that landed on the moon was on the 20th July 1969, since then there has been numerous unmanned missions but no humans have travelled the 400,000+ kilometres to make the journey back. This is largely due not only to the huge financial cost involved in manned missions but also down to lack of consumable resources on the moon’s surface, a key one being the lack of water.

On 26th October 2020, NASA confirmed that water had been found on the moon in far greater quantities than had previously been thought. Before this it had been found in dark unlit areas of the moons surface but these new findings show it present in a crater in a sunlit area of the moon. This was the result of 2 years of research using their high powered telescope ‘SOFIA’ which is installed in specially modified Boeing 747 aircraft which is flown high in the earth’s atmosphere. Scientists have detected tiny water molecules in this crater named "Clavius" on the moon’s surface but the pockets of water are only as small as a penny and are spread over quite large areas in the soil.

NASA announced that the further exploration of this water as a viable resource will form part of the planned 2024 mission back to the moon. This could potentially allow the use of lunar water as a consumable product and create an economy on the moon. The water found there could be used to make rocket fuel allowing missions to be launched from the moon, and there are already plans being developed to build a space station for this purpose which could sustain humans living on the moon for prolonged periods.

Research is now ongoing to confirm these findings in advance to the upcoming manned landings and NASA looking to establish a lunar base on the moon as early as the end of this decade.