Sorry Everybody: The Urban Legend about Space Pencils Is Complete Nonsense

There is a story that enters the internet every few years. It usually goes along the lines of: NASA learned that ballpoint pens would not work in microgravity, and so they spent millions of dollars (or any foreign retailing, billions) to make the pens work. Finally, after throwing away all this money, they designed a pen that could write the ultimate in-right, accurate way of temperature and pressure. They then went to the Soviets and showed them the pen, who replied, “We use pencils.”

NASA spent 1.5 million to make a pen that works in space. You see the appeal to certain people: at a time of NASA overspending, bureaucrats never stop to think of their obvious solution in front of the whole eye. Borrow a sentence from John Wick: a pencil, six pencils. This is of course complete nonsense.

First, for NASA’s first mission in space, they used pencils. There was a whole lot of controversy around it, in fact, when it was discovered in 1965 that they bought 34 units of pencils for a total of $4,382.50 or $128.89. They cost so much because of their high-strength external casing, which has a mechanical pencil inside. Still, with the public frenzy for space pencils, NASA looked for alternatives. But they didn’t spend a whole pile of cash to spend the alternative.

For his own dollars – designed by Fisher Pen Co.’s Paul C. Fisher – a ballpoint pen that operate in space. The pen had a pressed ink cartridge that would help force the ink into a weightless environment.

It can operate on water bodies, in other liquids, and even at temperatures ranging from -50 F to +400 F, so if the ground station suddenly lands on the ocean or volcano and the astronauts are somehow forced to fight their way back out but after a game of lexicon. Fisher offered calls to NASA for the Apollo mission, who bought super space calls for $ 6 per pen.

What’s more, when the Soviet Union heard of these pens, they bought them too. They had previously used grease pencils but the new space was sold by the obvious advantage of the pen. Using a pencil in space is a really bad idea. The tips fall off and can get caught in the tools. The presence of flammable material in a high-oxygen environment is also a terrifying idea, as both space agencies were so eager to get rid of graphite with pencils.