Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Duct tape and chewing gum

(Apologies for irregular posting, but I still don’t have an internet connection at my new place)

In a conversation with some collegues, talk first drifted to NASA and their desire for a permanent moon base, with Bush's promise to have it up by 2020.

Then, it drifted to the old space race between the Soviets and the US in the old cold war days, and how the US spent billions on equipment and technology, while the Soviet space program was run on a sixth of the the cost. Rumor had it that the soviets sent up rockets using a mixture of gasoline and kerosine as fuel, instead of high grade "space fuel".

All that talk just reminded me of an old story I had heard some ten years ago. The US astronauts had a major problem. They were not able to write notes in zero-gravity, since ink would not flow out from a fountain pen or even a ball point pen. So, the US spent millions on special pens that would write in space.

People began to wonder why the Russians weren't complaining. They found out.

The Russians used a pencil to write in space.

Oh well.


Anonymous said...

That's an urban legend.

Anonymous said...

Oh well.

Sunil said... always sounded suspiciously like an urban legend, but it still highlights how sometimes the US gets carried away by resources and technology, and forgets to think simple, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Ha ha.

Anonymous said...

There's this old classic by Robert Heinlein called "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", about a colony on the Moon. It's one of those books I started, enjoyed, and abandoned half way for some obscure reason. I think I'll read it again now :-)

Sunil said...

Heinlein of "Starship troopers"?? I haven't read this one......but given his other work, it should be very thought provoking.