Saturday, May 31, 2008

i love pencils


During the heat of the space race in the 1960's, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided it needed a ball point pen to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules. After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of about $1 million. The pen worked and also enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item on Earth.
Russia, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.



(thank you to rk for sending me this story, one of my absolute favorites)

7 comments:

sophia said...

that last line is hilarious.

sophia said...

i remember liking those space pens too.

Ellen said...

love it, love it, love it, great story!

Ellen said...

but they smudge

Arkay said...

The average lead pencil will draw a line 35 miles long or write approximately 50,000 English words. More than 2 billion pencils are manufactured each year in the United States. If these were laid end to end they would circle the world nine times.

sophia said...

does anyone remember the rubber pencil?

Mark said...

This is not true.
http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp
NASA spent $0 developing a space pen and merely bought some from Fisher for $3 each. NASA and Russia both used pencils on their early missions, but there were concerns about combustibility and broken led floating around in zero gravity.