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Can you solve this puzzle that astronauts take before heading into space?



There’s no doubt in my mind what I would have done if I could have chosen to be anything. Absolutely every time, 100%, no doubt: astronaut.

I knew when I was about five years old and I saw a picture of the space shuttle that this was to be my destiny. I vividly remember thinking that if I sat in my cardboard-box-which-I-had-painted-to-be-a-spaceship long enough that its papery rockets would eventually fire and blast me into space. Thankfully it never happened since, if it had, I had singularly failed to take into account the effects of travelling at great speed through the Earth’s upper atmosphere which would have burnt my small body to a crisp, the lack of oxygen in space which would render breathing impossible – even if my crispy body was still capable of doing so – and the lack of pressure in the vacuum of space which would have meant that my gasping, charred body would have instantly exploded. Really, it was a lucky escape, looking back.

Sadly, it never happened for me but there’s no reason why you – reader – could not be an astronaut if you work really hard at school, love space with all your heart and, crucially, are able to solve this puzzle.

British astronaut and all-round lovely guy Tim Peake recently shared a puzzle from his new book Ask An Astronaut: My Guide to Life in Space, which was reportedly an actual question that he and all other astronauts had to answer before being selected to go into space.

It’s very simple, yet requires a fair bit of mental concentration – take a look here and see if you can work it out:

What do you reckon? Choose your answer first.

And the correct answer? It’s back where it started: on the bottom.

As explained by Mr Chris Lennon on Facebook: 1. Forward – Facing you. 2. Left – Still facing you. 3. Left – Still facing you. 4. Forward – On top. 5. Right – On the right 6. Backwards – Still on the right. 7. Right – Finishes on the bottom.

And guess what? I GOT IT RIGHT. I’ve mailed my result to Tim Peake and the European Space Agency and I will be sitting in my cardboard box until I get a reply. See you in space!

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