May 20 (UPI) -- NASA announced it is seeking a team of social isolation experts to spend eight months locked in a Russian lab to help collect data for future missions to the moon and Mars.
The space agency said the selected candidates will spend the time in a closed facility with "environmental aspects similar to those astronauts are expected to experience on future missions to Mars."
The team will also conduct scientific experiments similar to those NASA expects future astronauts to attempt on missions to the moon and Mars.
The experiment will help NASA study the psychological and physiological effects astronauts are likely to face as a result of isolation on long missions.
The agency said it is seeking U.S. citizens between 30 and 55 years old, who speak English and Russian. NASA said candidates should ideally hold a master's degree, doctoral degree or a medical degree or have military officer training, but candidates with bachelor's degrees and relevant experience will be considered.
"As many around the world are staying at home in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, NASA is preparing for its next spaceflight simulation study and is seeking healthy participants to live together with a small crew in isolation for eight months," the agency said in a statement.
NASA's Artemis program is working on a plan to send humans to the moon for the first time since the agency's Apollo 17 mission in 1972.