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11mill. dollar pen, anyone?

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posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 01:06 PM
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Is there any truth to this?

Found this on the internet:


When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out that the pens wouldn't work at zero gravity. In order to solve this problem, they hired Andersen Consulting (Accenture today). It took them one decade and 12 million dollars.
They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, under water, in practically any surface including crystal and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees C.

The Russians used a pencil...


To be fair, wikipedia lists the cost as 11 mill., but the do not say how much it did cost.


[edit on 2-7-2009 by tungus]




posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 01:27 PM
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Wikipedia doesn't claim the cost of development was $11 million. They site it as an urban legend.


There exists a common urban legend claiming that the Americans spent $11 million developing the Space Pen, and the Russians used a pencil.[1] In fact, NASA programs have used pencils (for example a 1965 order of mechanical pencils[1]) but because of the danger that a broken-off pencil tip poses in zero gravity and the inflammable nature of the wood present in pencils[1] a better solution was needed.


In my opinion it is just a satirical statement about government waste doing unnecessary things while the Russians take the shortcuts without regard for consequences.



posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 01:57 PM
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This is an old joke! I have heard many variations of it for the past 30 years. As with most things, there is probably a grain of truth to it! Look at the rugged old Soyez capsule that is seeing a resurgence as our Space Shuttle is being phased out.

Don't know about any $11 million dollar pens though. I am pretty sure those Nasa guys are could figure out the positive pressure aspect of a zero-gravity pen in about 3 minutes.

Maybe this goes along with those $5000 toilet seats as "Black Ops" money?!? It is another urban legend that Congress routinely pads the budgets of NASA and military R and D to allow for things that can't be put into writing at the time.



posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 01:59 PM
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Originally posted by EnlightenUp
Wikipedia doesn't claim the cost of development was $11 million. They site it as an urban legend.


Right. But I wonder how much it did cost in reality.
Also, what is so dangerous about broken pencil tip in zero G? Wouldn't it just hang in the air instead of falling to the floor? I can see someone accidentally swallowing a piece of a graphite as they float, but it's not like it will puncture the hull because its speed is the same as the spacecraft.

[edit on 2-7-2009 by tungus]



posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 02:02 PM
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reply to post by tungus
 


it has to do with air filtration systems and fan systems. Many components on the ship require ventillation and small peices of carbon getting into small moving parts could potentialy be bad.



posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 02:03 PM
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Originally posted by tungus

Originally posted by EnlightenUp
Wikipedia doesn't claim the cost of development was $11 million. They site it as an urban legend.


Also, what is so dangerous about broken pencil tip in zero G? Wouldn't just hang in the air instead of falling to the floor? I can see someone accidentally swallowing a piece of a graphite as they float, but it's not like it will puncture the hull because its speed is the same as the spacecraft.


It would "hang" if it didn't have much initial velocity once it broke free. Graphite is conductive and could cause problems with electronics. It could also get lodged into a something that should be an airtight seal, causing failure of, for example, a spacesuit. It could prevent operating of a switch.

A more expensive pen is probably worth the cost over other possible scenarios.

[edit on 7/2/2009 by EnlightenUp]



posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by tungus
 


Other alternatives could also include chalk and a chalk board. A magnetic writer pad like the kind they sell as kids toys. A squeeze marker. ...A tape recorder, one can always rewind in space or do transcription back on earth.

Or the Russian favorite, the pencil.

NASA, gotta love em.



posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 02:16 PM
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You can find some interesting information on the urban legend at Snopes. I too believed this for a long time, till I read their version of the story.



posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 03:00 PM
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reply to post by titorite
 


Even the ink pen with positive pressure (i.e. spring loaded vs. gravity fed) is a feasible and inexpensive solution. I am pretty sure world-class scientists solved this problem before their morning coffee was cold!

I could go home and build one right now out of a couple of broken pens!

I haven't read the snopes.com yet. I am looking forward to their take on this.



posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 04:02 PM
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I doubt it cost 11 million dollars seeing as they have version available for 60: www.spacepen.com... I don't think its the same company, but it works in much the same way. A kid in one of my college classes a few years ago had one.

Looking back at that Wikipedia page, it actually is the same company, and also states it was independently developed and THEN pitched to NASA, so again, I doubt one man had 11 million dollars to spend developing such a pen.

[edit on 2-7-2009 by kyle6677]



posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 04:41 PM
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That's crazy... reminds me for a quote from the movie "Independence Day":

President Whitmore: I don't understand, where does all this come from? How do you get funding for something like this?

Julius Levinson: You don't actually think they spend $20,000.00 on a hammer, $30,000.00 on a toilet seat do you?




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