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Posted: 3/27/2002 8:52:12 AM EDT
When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 Billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300C. The Russians used a pencil.
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 9:00:21 AM EDT
I remember when those pens first came out. No way it take a decage or $12 billion. All they did was pressurize the pen refill with a little polyethylene ball over the ink. Kind of like squirt cheese. While I'm not sure what level of cleanliness is maintained inside Russian spacecraft, I do know that no lead pencils are allowed in the rooms where we manufacture spacecraft equipment. They shed particles and the graphite particles are electically conductive. A pencil sharpener in a clean room is an absolutee no-no.
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 9:05:31 AM EDT
Its always easier to cheat when using a pencil. Oh, BTW, did the pencils have erasures?
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 9:06:38 AM EDT
*sigh* [url]http://www.snopes2.com/business/genius/spacepen.htm[/url]
Claim: NASA spent millions of dollars developing an "astronaut pen" that would work in outer space; the Soviets solved the same problem by simply using pencils. Status: False. NASA never asked Paul C. Fisher to produce a pen. When the astronauts began to fly, like the Russians, they used pencils, but the leads sometimes broke and became a hazard by floating in the [capsule's] atmosphere where there was no gravity. They could float into an eye or nose or cause a short in an electrical device. In addition, both the lead and the wood of the pencil could burn rapidly in the pure oxygen atmosphere. Paul Fisher realized the astronauts needed a safer and more dependable writing instrument, so in July 1965 he developed the pressurized ball pen, with its ink enclosed in a sealed, pressurized ink cartridge. Fisher sent the first samples to Dr. Robert Gilruth, Director of the Houston Space Center. The pens were all metal except for the ink, which had a flash point above 200°C. The sample Space Pens were thoroughly tested by NASA. They passed all the tests and have been used ever since on all manned space flights, American and Russian. All research and developement costs were paid by Paul Fisher. No development costs have ever been charged to the government. Because of the fire in Apollo 1, in which three Astronauts died, NASA required a writing instrument that would not burn in a 100% oxygen atmosphere. It also had to work in the extreme conditions of outer space: In a vacuum. With no gravity. In hot temperatures of +150°C in sunlight and also in the cold shadows of space where the temperatures drop to -120°C (NASA tested the pressurized Space Pens at -50°C, but because of the residential [sic] heat in the pen it also writes for many minutes in the cold shadows.) Fisher spent over one million dollars in trying to perfect the ball point pen before he made his first successful pressurized pens in 1965. Samples were immediately sent to Dr. Robert Gilruth, Manager of the Houston Space Center, where they were thoroughly tested and approved for use in Space in September 1965. In December 1967 he sold 400 Fisher Space Pens to NASA for $2.95 each. Lead pencils were used on all Mercury and Gemini space flights and all Russian space flights prior to 1968. Fisher Space Pens are more dependable than lead pencils and cannot create the hazard of a broken piece of lead floating through the gravity-less atmosphere.
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Link Posted: 3/27/2002 10:12:08 AM EDT
I didn't even assume this was true. It was meant as a joke!! Okay, since you didn't like that one, here's another: A woman is shopping in the local supermarket. She selects some milk, some eggs, a carton of juice, and a package of bacon. As she unloads her items at the cash register to pay, a man standing behind her in line watches her place the four items on the belt and states with assurance, "You must be single." The woman looks at the four items on the belt, and seeing nothing unusual about her selection says, "That's right. How on earth did you know." He replies, "Because you're ugly."
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 10:42:08 AM EDT
Thinking out of the box... If you work for someone else, DON'T DO IT. It is the fastest way to get fired.
Link Posted: 3/27/2002 10:59:45 AM EDT
Chimborazo, You are funny man, it [b]was[/b] funny.
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