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July 5, 2009

Mightier than the sword?

srikanth @ 9:30 pm, GMT +0000 ( 1246829428 ) Play

ID this object that is _not_ the source of a famous US vs. Russia urban legend.

In reality, an object of this sort was closer to said legend :-)

Cracked in bits and pieces by jayanth , Dibyo , tete80 , udupendra , UDit , Rogi , Ram , krudebox , p vs np , achyuth , Advaith , BASABB , joe , Mo , Deepthi JS , Joshan , shenoyvarun86 , gudanggurum and Higgers.

Edit: Rogi, thanks for pointing it out. Seems to have been a hiccup in storing the right/wrong numbers, and a lot of people got skipped. And thanks for the additional info, too!


There’s an urban legend that NASA spent millions developing a proper pen that can work in zero gee, whereas the russians just used a pencil instead. debunked this, and so did NASA. But what was true was that NASA took a very, very expensive mechanical pencil(2) to space,which cost ~100USD a piece!

However, parallely, Fisher developed what they call the Fisher Space Pen (1) which did work in space. They sold it to NASA later at about 7USD per piece, and now NASA uses that on all their missions.

There doesn’t seem to be any clue about what the russians used :)

More details at

22 Responses to “Mightier than the sword?”

  1. zero g pen? (w.r.t the old saying that us invented a pen after spending millions.. where as the Russians used a pencil)

  2. i think its actually called ‘astronaut pen’.

  3. Dibyo

    this is the concept of the space pen and the joke about a pencil being more useful.

    in reality, the fisher space pen exists and works in space.

  4. tete80

    Fisher Original Astronaut Pen – Original Chrome Space Pen – The Pen That Went To The Moon.

  5. udupendra

    Fisher space pen?

  6. The pen that could work in space, as designed by NASA. The Russians however, took the easier alternative of using a pencil. Is that it?

  7. Rogi

    The myth is that the US spent a million dollars for Fisher to develop the Space Pen while the Soviets simply used pencils.

  8. Ram

    A special pen developed by NASA for astronaut’s usage. Russians simply took a pencil.

  9. krudebox

    The Fisher Space Pen. or the Zero-G Pen..

    The 2nd image is of a Mechanical Pencil.

    The urban legend being about the Americans investing 11 million dollars on a pen that works at zero-gravity while the Russians used a pencil.

    The Fisher Space Pen was not developed or funded by NASA who actually used mechanical pencils in space.

  10. p vs np

    The Fisher Space Pen.

  11. achyuth

    is it the pen NASA developed to be used in space, while the Russians used a pencil.

  12. Advaith

    The first one is a Fisher space pen
    the second one is probly a reference to the pen buzz aldrin used to press the engine switch on the apollo 11 mission

  13. The Pen that went to the Moon.. a commerative pen from Fisher celebrating the 40th Anniversay of Apollo 11’s landing.

    The pen below is the Moon Dust Pen designed for NASA

  14. joe

    The Fischer Spacepen.

  15. Mo

    Space Pen.

    There exists a common urban legend claiming that the Americans spent $11 million developing the Space Pen, and the Russians used a pencil.[1] Counter propaganda states that, 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 flammable nature of the wood present in pencils[1] a better solution was needed.

  16. Deepthi JS

    Fisher Space Pen.

  17. Joshan

    the space pen….

  18. Space pen!

  19. Fischer Space Pen

  20. Higgers

    The Space Pen, marketed by Fisher Spacepen Co.

  21. Nandakishore

    The “pen sort of instrument” devoleped in the quest for miniature computers tht can be carried in our pockets. It can produce a virtual monitor as well as a keyboard on any flat surface..

  22. Rogi

    I don\’ get it. Did this one have to say, *Fisher Space Pen* as a perfect string?
    Regarding the Answer… There is actually quite a bit of detail out there on the net regarding exactly what was used by who and when. To see a pic of the actual model used starting with the Mercury program, see this link where John Glenn received 100 red, white and blue Autopoint *Astronauts* from his old roomate at Langley in 1962.

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