Math Puzzles

Can You Solve This Famous NASA Emoji Puzzle?

July 22, 2020

Reading Time: 1 minute

NASA’s STEM engagement account on Twitter celebrated the 50th-anniversary moon landing by posting this interesting puzzle :

solve this puzzle

OK! So, now let’s get down to solving this puzzle. And I have two ways of going about it – a visual method; and a purely algebraic method. Let’s start with the visual one!

Method #1:

puzzle solution

Now, this image can be redrawn as (focus on row 2):

solve NASA puzzle

Further (focus on column 1):


NASA Puzzle

Further (focus on column 2):NASA Puzzle solution

NASA Puzzle

Thus, all of them were born in 1930!

And now let’s do it the algebra way!

Method 2:

Let’s assume the values are:

a is the value of the astronaut

m is the value of the moon

r  is the value of the rocket

e is the value of the satellite

Now, let’s form the equation using the puzzle information:

a + m = 45

r x e = 14

a + r = 32

m x e = 40

Using the last equation:

m = 40/e

Putting this into the first equation:

a + 40/e = 45

a = 45-(40/e)

Putting this in the third equation:

 45-(40/e) + r = 32

r = 32 – [ 45-(40/e)]

Putting this in the third equation:

{32 – [ 45-(40/e)]} x e = 14

32e – 45e + 40 = 14

45e – 32e = 40-14

13e = 26

e = 2


m = 40/e = 40/2 = 20

a = 45 – m = 45 – 20 = 25


(a x e) – m = (25 x 2) – 20 = 50-20 = 30

So, 1930 is the answer!

Which method did you find to be more interesting? Do let us know in the comment section!

At Cuemath, we teach children to think about more than one way of solving math problems. Also, a Cuemath student gains an advantage in competitive exams as they are trained to use visual problem-solving methods, which yield results in a much shorter period of time. 

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