spaceSpace and Physics

Can You Answer This Question From An Astronaut Selection Test?


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

Astronaut Tim Peake during his first spacewalk. Peake and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra conducted a spacewalk on Jan 15, 2016, successfully replacing a failed voltage regulator on the ISS. NASA Johnson

Being an astronaut has got to be one of the toughest jobs out there. You’ve got to be super smart, technically skilled, unbelievable fit, totally fearless, full of wonder, and patient enough to put up with being asked really stupid questions from people back on Earth. It also helps to be a quick-witted problem solver. 

British astronaut Tim Peake recently asked his Facebook followers if they could solve a conundrum that he was asked during his selection process to become an astronaut for ESA, the European Space Agency. 


The puzzle, featured in Major Peake's new book Ask an Astronaut, involves moving a cube marked with a “dot” on its base in a certain order to work out where the “dot” ends up after the series of instructions. The puzzle is all about your sense of coordination and spatial perception, as well as your ability to seamlessly follow instructions.

It might sound simple, but the comment section underneath it says otherwise. Over 1,700 people have replied to the post, however, there appears to be a whole bunch of answers, along with a fair few impassioned arguments (it is a Facebook comment section, after all).

Can you figure it out? Major Peake revealed the answer to this puzzle the following day, which you can see just under the post below.


Drum roll, please.


Tim Peake posted: “I loved reading all your answers...and congratulations to all those who said it ended up on the bottom of the cube!”


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