Ice deposits have been discovered at the moon’s poles by the Nasa radar aboard the Indian Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

Mini-SAR, a lightweight synthetic aperture radar, has discovered more than 40 small craters, ranging from 2km to 15km in diameter, which contain ice.

The agency’s moon mineralogy mapper (MMM) discovered the water molecules while the lunar crater observation and sensing satellite (LCROSS) detected water vapour.

Nasa said it estimated there could be at least 600 million tons of water present, making the moon a much more interesting and attractive scientific destination than previously thought.

“After analysing the data, our science team determined a strong indication of water ice, a finding which will give future missions a new target to further explore and exploit,” Nasa said.

Mini-SAR and MMM are just two of the 11 instruments on the Indian Space Research Organisation’s spacecraft.