Some scientific experiments have been developed with this objective.
TheDiviner instrument will make a temperature map of the surface so that regions where there could be ice can be rapidly identified.
TheLOLA instrument (Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter) has made a precise relief map of the Moon, and measured the refractive index of reflection of the surface. On December 17, 2010, a topographic map of the Moon was made available to the public. In this way it was be able to detect any ice crystals.
TheLEND instrument (Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector), developed by the Moscow Institute for Space Research, will study the level of neutron emission caused by cosmic rays bombarding the Moon; this level varies depending on the composition of the surface.
In a one-year mission, the LRO probe orbited the Moon at about 50 kilometres in an exploration phase, ending in September 2010. In October of the same year, two lunar impacts were made in the search for water and there was evidence of both water and hydroxyl ions in a crater (Cabeus) near the south pole. Other probes will follow to prepare for a manned mission to the Moon before 2020.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) exploring the Moon (artist's impression). Credit: NASA