So it’s tax season, and the old urban legend of “we spent $X on a space pen, and Russia used a pencil” story is making the rounds as an example of wasteful government spending. I’d like to point out a couple of things that we should all keep in mind :
(1) The story is false. While the program was started by NASA, the project was abandoned as too expensive. The actual Space Pen was developed using private capital, by Paul C. Fisher. See Here and Here.
(2) It’s a FREAKING SPACE PEN. This is a technological achievement! This is American Engineering at its FINEST, and something to be proud of.
(3) What kind of havoc does pencil shavings have on an air-filtration system and zero g? Can’t have a pencil without a sharpener, and those things are messy. Unless you like floating in a haze of graphite dust.
(4) Are you honestly saying the Soviet Russia was better than America in the 60’s & 70’s? Oh, wait…
(5) This was over 40 years ago. You sound like a spouse/significant other who keeps bringing up the time you did that thing – you know the one – a long time ago and even though they said all was forgiven, they bring it up every time you have an argument, even though it has no bearing on the point they are trying to make.
If you want to have a serious talk about wasteful spending, let’s talk about black budgets, two wars, oil company subsidies, bank bailouts, and equally relevant budget items. Let’s not talk about an urban legend that is both false and therefore has no bearing on the argument at hand. Frankly, I’d rather spend the money on TEN SPACE PENS than paying oil companies to be profitable.
I mean, come on people, IT IS A FREAKING SPACE PEN, developed and marketed by a private company in the US, and used by both NASA and the Russian Space Program now. Sounds like a win to me.