This is astronaut Tim Peake of England. He qualified for the European Space Agency in 2009 and completed his training the following year. After that, it took another five years, but in 2015 he finally went into space. Peake was given a six-month mission on the International Space Station, and returned to earth in 2016 So it's safe to say that Peake is living a pretty good life. One that we would all love to have, right?
Peake's well aware that he's one of the few people who has ever been to space, and he knows that people everywhere want to know what it's like. So he's written a book with the answers, simply titled Ask an Astronaut. Think of it as an astronaut FAQ from someone who knows the answers first-hand.
On Facebook, Tim shared one puzzle that potential astronauts have to solve to see if they qualify. If you can solve it, you've passed one of many tests you have to take to become an astronaut. If you fail, then there's probably no space travel in your future.
Here's a closer look at the puzzle. There's a dot on the bottom of this cube. Just mentally roll the dice in the directions it says on the bottom, keeping track of where that dot ends up. Do you think you've got it?
When seeing this puzzle, it raises many questions. Perhaps, first and foremost, the question is, why do astronauts have to solve a puzzle involving dice? Do astronauts spend most of their time on the space station shooting craps?
However, according to Tim, the question is taken directly from his selection test. And it is a logic puzzle, which is something you'll need to have a firm grasp on in you're hanging out in space. And for many people, finding the right answer wasn't that simple.
Naturally, people on Facebook jumped at the chance to prove they have what it takes to become astronauts. But some people had issues with the presentation of the puzzle itself. For instance, if you look at the diagram, the cube is at an angle. So how do you know which direction is supposed to be "forward"?
Or, since it's on an angle, does moving it forward mean the cube is supposed to be on its edge, somehow balancing without falling over? However, the real answer is that you just imagine yourself facing one of the sides of the cube, and have all the other sides be relative to that position. Now that that's cleared up, can you solve it?
After mentally rolling that dice around in your brain, the dot should wind up back at the bottom. If you got it right, don't pack your bags for space just yet. As Tim said in his post, "They get harder!"
If you didn't get the answer right, this user laid out all the steps in detail. From this explanation, it's pretty clear that the dot really does wind up back on the bottom. However, not everyone was buying it.
After Tim revealed the answer, many people were excited that they, too, solved the puzzle correctly. Others got it wrong, but were still grateful that Tim shared this interesting piece of the astronaut selection process. However, a few people who got it wrong couldn't help but make more excuses about the test, including asking if the dot was actually attached to the cube itself. (Hint: It was.)
While the puzzle only has one right solution, there was apparently no wrong way to comment on the solution on Facebook. Besides challenging the legitimacy of the puzzle, other reactions included complaints that the answer wasn't thorough enough, and a request from someone who wanted Tim to take her ashes into space. Such a request is quite forward - and is forward supposed to be to the left or to the right?
If you want to know more tests that appear as part of the selection test, you'll probably have to go out and buy Tim Peake's book. But we can only assume the next test involves solving a Rubik's Cube while in zero gravity. If you can somehow do that, you can probably figure out whatever space has to throw at you.