Russian scientists have begun training monkeys to use controls and solve problems in hopes of sending the animals to Mars within two years, according to the Daily Mail.
For three hours a day, the scientists are training rhesus macaques to use joysticks and solve math and puzzle tasks.
The four monkeys being trained were handpicked for their excellent cognitive thinking skills and ability to learn.
"What we are trying to do is to make them as intelligent as possible so we can use them to explore space beyond our orbit," said Inessa Kozlovskaya, the leader of the teaching team responsible for getting the macaques ready for the supposed 2017 liftoff, according to Express.
The monkeys are trained with a reward method — every time they complete a task, they are rewarded a sip of juice through a long metal feeder, according to Brobible.
Animals have been key in space travel, helping man learn the effects of space and reach the moon.
Many of the monkeys used previously, like Albert I, died during their missions.
The macaques have a natural life expectancy of 25 years and are expected to learn their tasks in enough time to man the 6-month mission to Mars.
NASA projects it will reach Mars sometime in the 2030s.