If a moon base were to be built, what would it use as a source of oxygen and water?
Initially, astronauts will take all their supplies from the Earth, as the do now. By recycling as much as possible they will use these supplies efficiently, but it is still terribly expensive to supply a lunar base with consumables carried all the way from Earth. That is why the search for ice near the lunar pole is so important. If we could mine local ice, that could supply all our requirements for water and oxygen.
NLSI Interim Director
October 22, 2007