Getting humans back to the moon—“this time to stay”—will require the exploitation of lunar resources, NASA officials and exploration advocates say. 

The most important resource, at least in the short term, is water ice, which is abundant on the floors of permanently shadowed polar craters. The ice found in these “cold traps" is thought to be stable and accessible. 

But there may be other spots on the moon that could yield a mother lode of scientific data—as well as the resources needed to sustain human occupation of Earth’s celestial next door neighbor.

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