This is the pan used in space / Photo courtesy of ABC News
This is the pan used in space / Photo courtesy of ABC News

It is often said that NASA spent millions of dollars developing a pen for writing in space, while Russian astronauts use cheap pencils.

But the truth is that this is a lie.

The story of preferring a pen to a pencil in space is quite interesting.

First, it is important to understand why pans are used in space.

The main reason for this is that the pencil is not suitable for space travel.

During normal use, the pencil and its coins often break, while its wood and graphite (the pencil coin) are scattered here and there, which can cause fires in the oxygen-pressurized space capsule and endanger the lives of astronauts. There may be danger.

But it’s not like NASA has never tried to use a pencil in space.

In 1965, the US space agency developed 34 specially designed pencils that it hoped would help astronauts write.

One such pencil cost $128, which is not cheap, but the experience of using it turned out to be the worst.

Fortunately, at the same time, an alternative tool was also developed.

A man named Paul Fisher invented the Space Pen.

Compared to normal pens, this space pen used compressed nitrogen to expel the ink from the nozzle instead of gravity.

This made it the perfect device for writing in space, but it was also possible to write upside down or underwater.

Paul Fisher then contacted NASA in 1965 and 1967 to test the spacepans.

The US space agency was so impressed with the space pen that it purchased 400 such pens for future missions.

Contrary to tradition, NASA did not spend any money for this pen, while Russia also stopped using pencils and bought Paul Fisher’s space pen.

Paul Fisher sold a space pen to the US and Russian space agencies at a 40 percent discount for $2.39.

The pen was first used during the Apollo 7 mission in 1968 and has been used for all human space missions since then.