Category: important

basilton: In the early years of space flight, both Russians and…

basilton:

In the early years of space flight, both Russians and Americans used pencils in space. Unfortunately, pencil lead is made of graphite, a highly conductive material. Snapped graphite leads and particles in zero gravity are hugely problematic, as they will get sucked into the air ventilation or electronic equipment, easily causing shorts or fires in the pure oxygen environment of a capsule.

After the fire in Apollo 1 which killed all the astronauts on board, NASA required a writing instrument that wasn’t a fire hazard. Fisher spent over a million dollars (of his own money) creating a pressurized ball point pen, which NASA bought at $2.95 each. The Russian space program also switched over from pencils shortly after.

40 years later snide morons on the internet still snigger about it, because snide morons on the internet never know what they are talking about.

Did you ever have insecurities while chasing your goal of becoming an astronaut? Were there pressures placed on you, by yourself or others, that you had to overcome? And if so, how did you overcome them? -Emma

Emma, I think everyone has insecurities about going into the unknown. The trick is not letting them get in the way. I think if you’re passionate about what you want, no amount of insecurities will keep you from it. 

What is the scariest part of your job?

I love my job, and I think the scariest thing for me is making a mistake. So I work hard to learn everything I can to avoid making mistakes and be as methodical as I can to avoid that.