Nasa is looking for a “class clown” to boost morale on a human mission to Mars.

The space agency found a joker plays a vital team role during high-pressure missions.

It plans to send humans to the Red Planet in the next quarter of a century. Astronauts would be confined in a capsule together for up to three years.

University of Florida’s Prof Jeff Johnson said: “Groups work best when they have somebody who takes on the role of class clown. They have the ability to bridge gaps when tensions appear.

Unmanned solar plane to capture high-resolution images of Earth from 67,000 ft 

“And they boost morale. It’s mission critical. This is something NASA is taking seriously.” The NASA-funded research was unveiled at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s event in Washington.

It will be tested in simulations at Johnson Space Centre, Hous­ton, Texas, where participants spend up to 90 days confined.

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