A quarter of the universe’s mass is made from helium. It’s forged in stars from hydrogen. There’s plenty in our solar Sun.
Its gas is light but won’t explode. As liquid, it’s extremely cold. We need it for experiments, MRIs and asthma meds.
Our atmosphere has almost none. Earth’s gravity can’t hold it in. Balloons that float-up might be fun but waste our precious helium.
Helium. Crucial for the progression of science. We use it in MRIs, space shuttles, fiber optic cables, particle accelerators and many other technologies that we use for research and medicine. Here you can find an explanation of a myriad of scientific uses for helium.
Not only do helium’s characteristics as an inert gas make it safe to handle, but, it is also the second lightest element on earth, it has the lowest boiling point of any gas and can cool objects to an astonishing -269 degrees Celsius! These properties make helium a perfect for making superconducting electromagnets which are needed for the use of MRIs.
So what’s the problem? Well, helium is a non-renewable resource, and if consumption continues as it is now, we are likely to run out of helium within the next forty years!
You may be thinking, ‘running out of helium?! But helium is the second most abundant element in the universe!’ This is true, unfortunately, despite being common in the universe as a whole, helium is relatively uncommon on earth and our current sources are being quickly depleted. Which makes me wonder, why are we still allowed to use helium to decorate children’s parties and make our voices squeaky?