3
$\begingroup$

It's a known fact that a wide variety of both generic and specially-engineered writing implements are currently used in space, by both the Russians and the US. But is there any known instance of a space traveller having used a fountain pen while in microgravity? If not, is there a specific reason why?

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Space! Nice question. Those who may wish to answer this question are advised that answers supported by sources are better than speculation. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Jul 1 at 17:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have problems with fountain pens even when I take them on the plane with me! :=D $\endgroup$ – UrasGungorPhys Jul 1 at 21:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ A good introductory read for this question: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writing_in_space. $\endgroup$ – Oscar Lanzi Jul 1 at 22:16
5
$\begingroup$

A fountain pen is unlikely to be used in microgravity as it is at least partially dependent on gravity to function.

The pen draws ink from the reservoir through a feed to the nib and deposits it on paper via a combination of gravity and capillary action. Source

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Having personal experience with fountain pens and calligraphy, I can confirm that they are rather finicky and won't write upside down. I've also had one leak rather violently in an airplane due to the pressure change which was a real mess--now when I travel with fountain pens I always make sure they're empty, bagged, and vertical to prevent ink getting everywhere. $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Jul 2 at 2:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Doesn't answer the question that was asked: But is there any known instance of a space traveller having used a fountain pen while in microgravity? $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jul 2 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble you can't prove a negative. If there is proof of it being used, this answer would be wrong. $\endgroup$ – James Jenkins Jul 2 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer does not say no. It gives rationale for why it is unlikely. It is a comment. If your answer is "No, it never happened", say so. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jul 2 at 13:18
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @SF. You are thinking about the Space Pen $\endgroup$ – James Jenkins Jul 3 at 11:03
2
$\begingroup$

It's hard to prove a negative. However, there is no documentation of usage by NASA.

A search for the phrase "fountain pen" on the NASA Technical Reports Server returns 27 entries. Some of these documents are comparing something else to the size or shape of a fountain pen. Others are about using fountain pens for experiments or graphical arts on Earth. Three entries are about how law enforcement can detect the impressions on the lower sheets of a pad of paper left by pen writing on the torn-off top sheets. But there are no documents about using fountain pens in space.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.