moon shot
© Amr Abdallah Dalsh/REUTERS
Should the human race ever choose to live on the moon they might be able to set up colonies near the lunar poles, where scientists have just discovered sources of ice water within the shadows of craters.

The European Space Agency has toyed with a vision of a lunar village in recent years. Now the NASA discovery of frozen water on the moon could give space enthusiasts a new impetus to put such a plan into action.

Discovered in the darkest craters of the moon, the ice was identified with the help of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Moon Mineralogy Mapper. The device was on board India's first lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 in 2008.

According to lead scientist Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii and Brown University's Richard Elphic, the mapper was able to pinpoint reflections and infrared light absorption typical of solid ice and water.

The north and south poles are the coldest regions of the moon, with temperatures rarely reaching above minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Images released by the US space agency reveals the distribution of ice along the top and bottom of Earth's natural satellite. The dark patches on the pictures represent the deep craters where temperatures on the moon are at their lowest.