NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed the discovery of water on the sunlit surface of the Moon.
The presence of water on the shadowed parts of the Moon was previously known to scientists; however, this discovery points to the fact that water may be distributed across the lunar surface — in more abundant quantities than previously thought.
Why is it so important?
The detection of molecular water and not just hydroxyl (as was previously known) has boosted NASA's hopes of establishing a lunar base on our only natural satellite.
The lunar base aims to tap into the natural resources present on the Moon rather than making frequent round-trips to Earth.
However, before going on that path, researchers need to understand the nature of water on the Moon. Positive results in this direction would determine the accessibility for use, said Jacob Bleacher, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
The location of the lunar base would largely depend on where the water is.
Dr Hannah Sargeant, a planetary scientist from the Open University in Milton Keynes, told BBC News, this means developing "a more sustainable way of exploring space."
A sustainable way of exploring space means using local resources from the Moon's surface, and water is the primary resource.
What does it mean for us?
Further explaining the meaning of the discovery, Dr Sargeant said this discovery could broaden the list of places where NASA might want to build a base.
While the list of missions to the Moon's polar regions is quite extensive, the plans to build a permanent habitation on the Moon's surface is a long-term mission, quite an important one at that.
She said the team is already working on Moon base ideas and where the base would be located, this discovery - while does not give much time - gives more options. NASA is expecting to establish a base by the end of the decade.
Experts say that this could form the basis of a future lunar economy once they figure out how to extract the water and ice.
Consequently, it would be much cheaper to make rocket fuel on the Moon rather than sending it from Earth.
In the future, if the explorers want to return to Earth, they can use hydrogen and oxygen as fuels to power space vehicles.
Re-fuelling at the Moon instead of coming all the way to Earth would bring down the cost of space travel, which would eventually make space travel more affordable. Moon could also be used as a rest-stop for further space explorations, changing the picture of space travel.
Meanwhile, Sputnik News has slamed NASA scientists for not realizing the fact that Soviet Union's Luna 24 probe made this discovery in 1976.