Scientists in Milton Keynes join with Nasa on a mission to the moon

The Open University in Milton Keynes has joined forces with Nasa on a mission to the moon.

OU scientists university have developed an instrument called PITMS to monitor the very thin atmosphere near the Moon's surface and disocver whether there is a natural water cycle there..

The moon landing

The moon landing

And it could pave the way for the next human visitors to the moon.

The announcement comes as the world prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary for the first moon landings on July 20.

The instrument will be placed ina large crater on the near side of the moon in 2021 by Nasa's Artemis programme.

Dr Simeon Barber from the Open University said there is "increasing evidence" from orbiting spacecraft that water may migrate away from equatorial regions until it becomes tightly trapped at permanently cold locations.

PITMS, which stands for Prospect Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer, would "provide an early opportunity to study the dynamic behaviour of water on the Moon".

Dr Barber said: "The science we achieve, in particular on the availability of accessible water and oxygen, could help the international community to formulate new ways to explore the Moon and space in a more sustainable manner by using these off-planet resources."