Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Truely Idiots

3idiots is a super hit movie of Bollywood of year 2009. In the movie the character Virus S , the director of Institute , introduced the astronaut pen to his student. I tried to figure out same false statement mentioned in movie and also few more interesting facts of pen.

As told by the Viru SAstronaut pen is a million dollar inventions. Ordinary pens don’t work in space; astronaut pen is used to write in any angle with any orientation.
Reason why ordinary pen can’t be used in vacuum and zero gravity space:
It is very difficult to write upside or on wall with ordinary pen in absence of gravity. Furthermore, in the vacuum of space, the ink would evaporate and dry out and quit flowing. If the ink gets too cold, then it will get too thick to flow. If it gets too hot, then it will dry out and not flow. So, for a variety of reasons, ordinary pens can’t be used in space.
So what there is simple alternative write in pencil! Millions dollar would have been saved.– Rancho 

 but is it that simple..??
First of all like so many urban legends, though, this one is also false. NASA did not spend any money at all developing the pens. They purchased 400 of the pens for about $6 apiece.
Few more reason why pencil can’t be used in space:


  • The most obvious reason would be that one which is mentioned in the movie. The problem was that the pencil leads broke off and floated around in the space capsule. Such bits of pencil lead could drift into an astronaut’s eye, risking injury.
  • Moreover, the astronaut could inhale the pencil lead.
  • Worst of all, the pencil lead could find its way into a sensitive switch, interfering with the operation of the spacecraft during a critical moment.
  • Also, ordinary pencils were made of wood, which was flammable in the pure oxygen atmosphere of the space capsule.
  • Writing with a pencil requires friction. It is impossible to hold it without friction. The graphite pencil led would not make a mark on the paper without friction; any miscalculation of friction force which is needed to write can result in breaking of lead easily.
  • Furthermore, astronauts had trouble holding the pencils and writing when wearing bulky space suit gloves.
  • And, to make matters worse, the pencil with its sharp point floated around the capsule in the way.
Soviet Union thought of Grease lead instead of Graphite lead
That was the causes due to which graphite lead can`t be used in space. So The Soviet Union gave its cosmonauts grease pencils with which to write in space. But, grease pencils can be messy, and the writing can smear and rub off.
Pencil is expensive than pen
If pencil has to be use in space than special suite is needed to hold pencil , sensitive instrument is needed to measure the amount of friction needed to write, inflammable and strong material is needed rather than wood. The totally cost is manufacturing this kind of pencil is much more expensive than $6 pen.
To read more go to astroprofspage

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