NASA has confirmed that the Moon definitely has water - boosting hopes that a lunar base could be built there.

In a major breakthrough, research has suggested that water could be distributed right across the lunar surface.

It has raised questions as to whether the human race could survive the harsh conditions of the Moon’s surface.

NASA was keen to stress that water on the Moon is limited, with the discovery representing about 1% of the water found in the Sahara, the Independent reports.

But it is unclear how that water was created or whether it could stay on the surface.

NASA hopes the discovery will boost chances of heading to the Moon by 2024, which will be the first human trip in more than 50 years.

But can humans actually live there?

The Moon definitely has water, Nasa said

Well alongside water, the Moon crucially lacks an atmosphere with breathable air.

But that might not hinder mankind's chances of eventually settling there.

According to Markus Landgraf, the moon project manager with the European Space Agency, who spoke to Live Science last year, that is not a huge issue.

He said: “People don't use much air, and for a long time, we will not need to make the air on the moon. We can bring it in.”

And he thinks it might actually be fairly cost-effective to build sealed structures that could be pumped with air.

He said: “Transportation costs for that are still manageable.”

Man's first landing on the Moon occurred inJuly 20, 1969

Landgraf said the growth of space exploration in the coming decades could make the process more economical.

That's because propelling spacecraft requires oxygen, so if the demand increases then "it makes more economic sense to build oxygen generators on the moon for rocket propellant, rather than for drinking water and air for people.”

So, we have proof that there is more water than previously thought, and experts backing the idea of oxygen pumped structures supporting a new settlement.

Theoretically then, the Moon can support life with water and oxygen.

And in truth, the biggest issue might be getting there in the first place.

The huge cost of transporting humans to another planet would require bold investments such as space elevators.

Landgraf said: “So, really, water isn't the constraint here. It's transportation.”

The moon isn’t exactly the ideal winter sun destination either, given that night-time temperatures can tumble to —190C.

But, NASA has vowed to return astronauts to the moon by 2024, as part of a wider US focus on expanding humanity beyond earth.

And eccentric tech guru Elon Musk has plans to take wealthy space tourists around a trip to the moon by 2023.