The truth behind NASA spending money on pen research in the universe

It turns out that the story you have heard for so long is just a trick. The real story is hundreds of times more interesting!

There is a legend about the ballpoint pen in the Space Age that has been passed down for generations. It talks about how NASA scientists discovered ball pens don't work in the Universe, and must rush to find new ways for astronauts to write. They took years and millions of dollars to develop a ballpoint pen that works in the Universe; Meanwhile, Russia does not waste any effort, they distribute pencils to astronauts.

The story is simple but effective, the power of critical thinking will surpass the expensive 'million '. But like many oral legend and then floating on other Internet, this story is not true. There are two arguments to prove it.

Picture 1 of The truth behind NASA spending money on pen research in the universe Photo 1 of The truth behind NASA spending money on pen research in the universe

The first is Robert Frost's claim, a flight instructor at NASA, who was responsible for training astronauts on the ISS International Space Station. The original answer of Mr. Frost on Quora is as follows:

Picture 2 of The truth behind NASA spending money on pen research in the universe Photo 2 of The truth behind NASA spending money on pen research in the universe

In fact, there are people who have proved what Robert Frost says is true. It was astronaut Pedro Duque; in 2003, Duque brought a ballpoint pen into space and wrote a diary with that pen itself.

' I'm rewriting these lines with a cheap ballpoint pen. Why is this important? Telling a little bit, I have been working in the space travel industry for 17 years, 11 of them in the name of astronauts, and I always believe that, because I am always told, is a normal ball pen Inactive in the Universe.

"The ink doesn't flow out," they said. "You just try to turn the pen upside down and write that you will see it immediately", they continued.

On my first flight, I took an expensive pen containing pressure ink, which appeared on every other shuttle. But one day, when I was working with a tour guide on Soyuz station, he handed me a ballpoint pen attached to a rope to bring up the trajectory to work. Seeing my unexpected face, he said that Russians always use ballpoint pens to write on the Universe.

I'm still carrying a ballpoint pen developed by us, the European Space Agency ESA, (just in case the Russian pen is very special), and now I'm writing these, pen have not seen the stop or 'spit' of miscellaneous as everyone else says.

Sometimes, being overly careful prevents us from trying, and then as a result, things that are too complicated are needed .

Picture 3 of The truth behind NASA spending money on pen research in the universe Photo 3 of The truth behind NASA spending money on pen research in the universe

Saying that, the development of a pressure pen is not wasteful. Until now, on both Russian and American missions, the pressure ball pen still appears.

According to NASA documents, both astronauts from Russia and the United States still use pencils to write. But the small, fragile pencil nib can fly through narrow slits and cause unwanted incidents. And yet, the wooden case of the pencil is still flammable; After the Apollo 1 fire disaster and killing three astronauts, NASA did not want repeat history.

NASA ordered 34 mechanical pens from Tycam Engineering Manufacturing. The total value of orders is up to US $ 4,382.50, which is US $ 128.89 / unit. Community vehemently condemns: what do ballpoint pens be so expensive? NASA immediately refused to use the new mechanical pen, and equipped cheaper tools for astronauts.

During this time, Paul C. Fisher and his Fisher Pen Company designed a completely new ballpoint pen that works well in the harsh environment of the Universe. The new pen type has a pressure ink cavity, which operates in a zero gravity, underwater or other solution and ranges in temperature from -45 ° C to 204 ° C.

Picture 4 of The truth behind NASA spending money on pen research in the universe Photo 4 of The truth behind NASA spending money on pen research in the universe

In 1964, Fisher introduced NASA to a new pen, but the past bought expensive pens, which made the US Space Agency hesitant. A year passed, after conducting a continuous test, NASA decided to spend money to buy a new pen.

Media at that time reported: NASA bought about 400 pens, for $ 6 per piece, to use for the Apollo mission series.

The Russians heard the reputation of a pen and also bought about 100 pieces, along with 1,000 ink ribbons. Before this time, Russian astronauts still use pencil to write on space.

The special pressure pen , now called the Space Pen , continues to appear in space missions to this day. Mr. Fisher changed the brand name, called Fisher Space Pen Company to continue promoting the technology that flew with the astronauts to the Moon.