Yesterday, it was announced that a small amount of water was discovered on the moon. It’s been said that, depending how much they find, it can be used as fuel for interplanetary rockets, to make Lunar concrete, or can be drunk by astronauts. In reality, it probably won’t be used for any of these uses any time soon.
I would imagine that the next step would be to build a probe similar to the Phoenix Lander sent to Mars. The probe would then be sent to one of the shadowed craters, where it would dig in the Lunar soil until it located some water. It could then either analyze the sample onboard or launch it back to Earth. Of course, on one infamous sample return mission, the cannister cracked on impact, contaminating the sample. It would be just our luck to obtain a sample of Lunar water and then discover that not only did it contain a zombie virus, but also that its container was leaking.
On the other hand, if the water was drinkable and present in large enough quantities, it could then be possible to build a research station on the Moon. I would imagine that the easiest way to construct a habitat on the moon (other than by flying it there whole, like some sort of cosmic Winnebago) would be to send some construction robots that could be operated by telepresence. They could then go about building domes to protect visiting space scientists from solar radiation and cosmic rays. Of course, a better choice might be to find a nice cave somewhere to build in, since tons of rock would probably make a better radiation shield than some flimsy dome flat-packed up from Earth like so much Ikea furniture.
Then again, if the water’s not drinkable but is in sufficient quantities to use for fuel, why even send humans at all? Why worry about radiation and space suits, and food and water, and especially air, when we might get away with sending telepresence androids? Not tractors with pincers, mind you, but human-shaped (and better still, human-looking) androids walking proudly across the surface of the Moon.