Humans have been drawn to space travel since a race began in the mid-twentieth century between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, some people got more fascinated with the space pen used in the American sitcom "Seinfield" and Professor Viru Sahastrabudhhe's pen in the Indian movie "Three Idiots."

While some say that a pen cannot be used in zero gravity and that cosmonauts could simply use a pencil, others claim that space organizations spent a significant amount of money to develop such an item.

The following are some fascinating facts regarding these pens, as NASA said.

Space Pens Are Real

Most people are probably familiar with the Fisher Space Pen. This pressurized pen can work in the microgravity conditions of the International Space Station. A common misunderstanding about the space pen is that NASA allegedly spent millions of dollars creating it while Russian cosmonauts used pencils.

Space Pen
(Photo: atomicjeep/Wikimedia Commons)

The space agency clarified per Slash Gear that the pens are real and that astronauts use them to write while aboard the International Space Station. The space pen resembles a conventional pen, but it is unique because it is a pressurized pen that can work in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station. Fisher Pen Company's Fisher Space Pen, according to NASA, is a dependable and safe tool.

Space Pens Can Be Used on Earth

While they are popular gifts, space pens are especially sought after by military and law enforcement personnel, outdoor enthusiasts, aircraft makers, and petroleum professionals. According to Awani Review, these people, like astronauts, value the pens' flexibility to write in any format.

The Fisher Pen Company has sellers in more than 50 countries. However, it still makes all of its pens in Boulder City, Nevada where over 60 people produce over one million pens each year. There are now over 80 versions in the space pen line.

ALSO READ: Fukutoku-Okanoba Eruption: NASA Shares Incredible Satellite Images of Japan's Underwater Volcano 80 Feet Underneath the Surface

NASA has a lengthy history of licensing technologies to commercial companies. The article for NASA by Spinoff gives an overview of NASA technology that has been converted into commercial services and products, showing the better advantages of the U.S. space program. The Technology Transfer Program of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate publishes Spinoff.

Nobody Used Taxpayers' Money To Make Space Pen!

Rumors claim that NASA spent ten years and $165 million, or $12 billion, making the Fisher Space Pen. Reuters clarified that the space pen did not cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Republic World also explained the reason why astronauts quit using pencils. The ISS is packed with delicate equipment that may be harmed by small pieces of junk drifting around.

The space agency said that the ISS has delicate equipment that may be harmed by microscopic particles of trash floating about in zero gravity. Sharpening pencils is necessary, and a broken tip might result in little pieces of graphite strewn about the space station. This might cause problems for the ISS's delicate equipment as well as the crew.

How Space Pen Works

Paul C. Fisher and his firm, the Fisher Pen Company, patented this space pen in 1965, Scientific American said. Astronauts can write upside down, in extreme cold or heat (down to negative 50 degrees Fahrenheit or up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit), and even underwater or in other liquids. However, if the ink becomes too hot, it turns green instead of blue.

Unlike other ballpoint pens, the ink flow of the Fisher Space Pen is not aided by gravity. Instead, the cartridge is inflated with nitrogen at a pressure of 35 pounds per square inch. The ink is pushed toward the tungsten carbide ball at the pen's tip by this pressure.

The ink is also different from what is usually found in regular pens. Fisher utilized ink that behaves as a gel-like solid until the ballpoint moves, at which time it transforms into a fluid. The nitrogen also prevents air from interacting with the ink, preventing it from evaporating and oxidizing.

RELATED ARTICLE: NASA Galileo Spacecraft Continues To Fulfill Many Tasks After Passing by Asteroid Ida 28 Years Ago

Check out more news and information on Space in Science Times.