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What is a space pen and why has it revolutionized the way writing in space

The pen uses a compressed nitrogen method to prevent ink spillage. Photo: NASA

Space travel has been an attraction to man, since the middle of the twentieth century the career of working with the former Soviet Union and the United States as heroes began. Every year it is heard how one country or another outperformed its geopolitical rival, either by sending a new satellite or, in the case of the North American country, In 1969 with the first landing on the moon in human history.

However, these great monuments made people cease to be amazed by the small details of life in space, even though it seems small on Earth and daily actions, It took extraterrestrial techniques and extensive scientific analysis to become a reality.

For example, the way astronauts can write in space is one of those questions that very few people ask themselves, assuming it’s something of no greater knowledge. Yet it is, and though it may be considered simple today, It was a milestone in the late 1960s when the first space pen (or space pen) was used during the Apollo 7 mission that took place in 1968.

The pen, also known as The Fisher Space Pen in memory of its creator, Paul Fisher, was a revolution in the midst of space travel, where writing with an ordinary pen was an almost impossible task in the midst of the weightlessness of space.

“The original pens were awesome”Carrie Fisher, president of Fisher Corporation and Son Bao, explained.

According to Carrie, pens used on the floor cannot be used outside, bearing in mind that Zero gravity provides no pressure to direct the ink into the ball at the tip of the pen, causing a leak, jumping out of the device, or simply drying it out.

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To solve the problem, his father, who had already invented the first universal ink bottle refill, I was working on an airtight, pressurized nitrogen cartridge that pushes a small piston against the ink. But the pressure made the pens leak‘,” refers to NASA, through a statement.

Photo: NASA
Photo: NASA

However, the US space agency learned that although there was no stable idea of ​​writing in space, Fisher’s method was the way to get to the pen we have today, and the goal was only to find the necessary modification; What he finally achieved.

“With NASA spurring interest in him, he (Fischer) finally did. When he added resin to the ink to make it “thixotropic,” it was almost solid until the friction of the ball on the tip of the pen liquefied it.. He called the result AG7, an antigravity, and many sent to NASA,” the ‘space’ entity added.

And so, after several tests by NASA, I decided, in 1968, that it was time to stop seeing the space pen as a “prototype” and see it for what it is: “A safe and reliable product.”

Thus, from the Apollo 7 mission until now, it is precisely this device that astronauts carry during their missions in order to record all accidents that occur inside their ships or during their flights outside.

Finally to the question: “Why not use pencils to write in space?”, NASA explains in its document that although it appears to be a reliable option and has already been used during several missions, it is an unsafe alternative.”Because a mine can easily break and float, posing a danger to astronauts and sensitive electronic devices on board the spacecraft.”.

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