MOSCOW, November 14 (RIA Novosti) - Data from last month's lunar research mission has revealed that the grey planet contains a large amount of frozen water, NASA has said.
The new find has been hailed by scientists as a breakthrough in lunar research, and raises hopes of placing a manned base on the moon.
"NASA today opened a new chapter in our understanding of the moon", the agency said on Friday.
"Preliminary data from the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, indicates that the mission successfully uncovered water during the Oct. 9, 2009 impacts into the permanently shadowed region of Cabeus crater near the moon's south pole."
During the experiment, a rocket and a probe crashed into the surface, releasing a plume of material from the bottom of the crater, consisting of vapor, fine dust and heavier particles.
"This material has not seen sunlight in billions of years," NASA said.
Project scientist Anthony Colaprete said: "Along with the water in Cabeus, there are hints of other intriguing substances. The permanently shadowed regions of the moon are truly cold traps, collecting and preserving material over billions of years."