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'Flight of the Flibbins' printed from http://nrich.maths.org/

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Picture of FlibbinsThe last ten Flibbins who live on the planet Filbert are in trouble. They are under threat from a cactus-like creature whose spines are fatal to the Flibbins and who are due to start their annual moult in a few days time!!

The Flibbins have found a neighbouring planet that is uninhabited and where they can survive if they can get there safely. However, they have some problems with organising their emigration.

Firstly, they only have one spacecraft that will carry at most three of them at a time.

Secondly, the ten Flibbins exist in pairs, (one red and one blue) and blue Flibbins are very jealous of their red partners. So jealous in fact, that they will not leave their red partners on their own with any other bue Flibbin, no matter how serious their situation (no wonder they are in danger of extinction!).

What is the quickest way of getting the five pairs of Flibbins safely to the new planet?