Your team has developed a probe to study an alien monolith. It needs protective coatings — in red, purple and green — to cope with the environments it passes through. Can you figure out how to apply the colors so the probe survives the trip?

Deconstruct the 3x3x3 cube to study its 27 cube modules. Which color will coat each face on each of the modules? Your goal: The pieces must reconfigure into all red, all purple, and all green combinations in order to stay protected along the way. Grab a paper and some colored pencils, and maybe 27 wooden blocks, to solve TED-Ed’s Alien Probe Riddle.

Next: More cubes, including the Amazing Moving Cube, Erik Åberg’s Ghostcubes, and this fully functioning Rubik’s Cube made from real ice.

Plus: Cubits, an animation by Al Jarnow.

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