Los Angeles/Washington— Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine has a vision for renewed and "sustainable" human exploration of the moon, and he cites the existence of water on the lunar surface as a key to chances for success. "We know that there are hundreds of billions of tonnes of water ice on the surface of the moon," Bridenstine said in a Reuters TV interview in Washington on Tuesday, a day after Nasa unveiled its analysis of data collected from lunar orbit by a spacecraft from India. The findings, published on Monday, mark the first time scientists have confirmed the presence of water on the moon’s surface — in hundreds of patches of ice deposited in the darkest and coldest reaches of its polar regions — by direct observation.

The discovery holds tantalising implications for efforts to return humans to the moon for the first time in half a century. The presence of water offers a potentially valuable resource not only for drinking but for producing more rocket fuel and oxygen...

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