Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Monday, 29 December 2008

Ice 'most likely' in Moon craters

Lunar surface
Researchers believe lunar craters shaded from the sun could have ice

Ice on the Moon is most likely to be found in shaded polar craters, UK scientists have concluded.

Researchers from Glasgow and Durham universities analysed data from Nasa's 1998 Lunar Prospector probe to pinpoint likely locations.

They found that polar craters, which are shaded from the Sun, could have ice in concentrations of up to 10 grams per kilo of rock.

Their findings are published in the scientific journal Icarus.

Lunar base

Dr Luis Teodoro, of Glasgow University's physics and astronomy department, said: "We used a newly developed technique to show that the hydrogen on the moon is concentrated into permanently shaded craters near to the lunar poles.

"Hydrogen, together with the oxygen that is abundant within Moon rock, is a key element in making water.

"Water ice should be stable for billions of years on the Moon provided that it receives no sunlight.

"If the hydrogen is present as water-ice then our results imply that the top metre of the Moon holds about 200 billion litres of water."

Scientists believe the presence of water on the Moon could pave the way for a future manned base there. It is life sustaining and a potential source of rocket fuel.

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