Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Rough Science Photo of the Rough Science cast
 Home | Death Valley | Scientists | Mike | Communication Diary - Day 1
Introduction
 
Series 4:
Death Valley
Rover
Communication
Spacesuit
Impact
Aerial Surveyor
Rocket
 
 
The Scientists
Director's Notes
Producer's Notes
Tune In
 
Series 1:
Mediterranean
Series 2:
Carriacou
Series 3:
New Zealand
 
About the Show
Discover More
Feedback
Site Map
 
spacer spacer spacer
Mike's Communication Diary Day 1 2 3

Day One

So I’m to make pens that “work in zero gravity” – for our purposes, that means pens which can write 'upside down'. Ellen is to produce the inks. I'm dependent again on someone else, because if she fails to produce a suitable ink, then I’m stuffed too. What's more, this challenge is not as easy as it first seems. A capillary action pen will work okay, but a ball-point pen is another matter, and it seems that the programme makers are expecting me to produce both types. I decide to make a large version of each type that I can scale down if I have time. As the capillary pen is going to be the easier of the two to produce, I start on that. It’s surprising how difficult a challenge this is under Rough Science conditions. It takes an age just to gather together the tools and materials that you think might be useful. Then you’re constantly revising your ideas in order to overcome some small design problem that you hadn’t foreseen. Nevertheless, by the end of the day, I’ve managed to produce something that will do the trick – a “pen” that works by capillary action. It looks like, and more or less is, a large felt-tip marker. It’ll do for now. Tomorrow I need to tackle the more-demanding challenge of making a large ball-point pen.

 

 


Mike tests his pen
Scientists Diaries

Will the Rough Scientists be able to get their message across? Read what they communicated through their diaries:

Ellen
Iain
Jonathan
Kathy