When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity.
To combat this problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 300° C.
The Russians used a pencil.

13 COMMENTS

  1. So to be a ‘Killjoy’ but this story is actually a fallacy, they actually still to this day use an ordinary Ballpoint as they do write in zero gravity. The Russians use them to as carbon slivers could break off the pencil ‘lead’ causing short circuits in the vital electrical systems!!!

  2. Who thinks them up ?? 12 billion dollars!!! my ar53 , I mean c’mon they didn’t spend that much putting a man on the moon!!!!!!!

  3. Aahhhaha. Well, Russians have always had less money, so they’ve developed the imagination and creativity required to survive. I´m Argentinian, so I know perfectly well what I´m talking about…

  4. Si je ne me trompe pas trop, le “ball point” a été mis au point parce que les stylos à réservoirs d’encre se vidaient dans les avions dans certaines circonstances que je ne connait pas !! Variations de pressurisation je suppose dans les avions d’après la guerre ??

  5. I know it is ‘meant’ as a joke on here, but it started out as a serious comment on the stupidity and frivolous nature of the NASA programme in general!!
    Another one is that we’re suposed to eat 8 spiders in our sleep during our life time!!

  6. This is a nice story, but there are some points to correct:

    1.: The authentic Space pen was invented by Paul Fischer, in Boulder City, Nevada, USA. The pen made it’s first flight in 1968, to the Moon.

    2.: There was NO taxpayer’s money spent to invent the pen. Fischer invested his own money, app. 1 million US dollars.

    3.: Fischer had no connections to the government before he developed the pen, he developed the pen independently.

    4.: The mighty and ethernal :-)) Soviet Union purchased 100 pc. of Space pen in 1969 to fulfill the needs of it’s great space program.

  7. This is completely false. When we figured out ballpoints don’t work in space we started using pencils. The problems associated with broken lead and shavings was known, but no solution existed at the time. Fisher pen company spent 1-2 million of ITS OWN MONEY to develop a pen that wrote in space. Fisher received no money for development from NASA or the US government. When it was developed Fisher showed the pens to NASA, and after testing them, bought how many they wanted at the same price they were being sold at to the public. The Russians adopted the Fisher space pen also as soon as they knew it existed.

  8. Yes, this is a joke. The “Space Pen was developed by the Fisher Pen company in Colorado using their own money and not one penny of NASA dollars. Then they sold the pens to NASA at the normal cost that you and I would pay for them. And the Space Pens ARE used for spaceflight and not ordinary ballpoint pens. I have been using one for decades and I love it!

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