This mission by ESA will map "the location of relevant resources and volatile substances in sufficient quantities to be operationally useful for future lunar settlers to make fuel and breathable air. Its primary science payload is a miniaturised laser instrument that would probe the Shackleton Crater, adjacent to the South Pole, for measuring the abundance of water ice.".

The VMMO mission is due to be launched in 2023. If all goes well, it will help pave the path for European lunar exploration heading towards a moon village and commercial exploitation in the 2030-2040 timeframe.