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|Subject: The Russians used a pencil|
Posted Apr 28, 2003 by F F Churchton
Evidence how silly the Americans are?
Well, normally I would agree. The americans did use pencils too. But then a lead broke, and nearly blinded an astronaut (as far as I've read anyways.) Hence the need for a pen that works in space.
I doubt there was some single incident of a lead, hurting an astronaut, but broken leads and simply the debris you get when using a pencil is a bad thing to have floating around in an environment with no gravity. Have a look at http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.htm for some factual information on the issue.
Won't the tip of a pencil be neither more or less dangerous than any other bit of equipment/food or anything else floating about? That is why pencils are probably the best bet. Anyway, bits break off pens.
If bits are breaking off your pen you might consider a course in pen usage. Unless you mean bits break off when you fiddle with the pen, but I doubt that's a problem with astronauts.