As NASA works to extend human exploration of the solar system, a sustained presence on the Moon will be critical for developing and testing the technologies and systems needed for future missions to Mars and beyond.
The development of lunar materials for life support, fuel, energy, manufacturing, and construction- or in situ resource utilization (ISRU)— is needed to enable a sustained, human presence on the Moon. One of the most important of these resources is water. Water supports all life on Earth, and will be critical to supporting human exploration beyond Earth. On the Moon, water is trapped in icy regolith at the lunar poles, including inside permanently dark and cold craters.