Earth’s helium is running out and it has dire consequences for science
Helium’s essential for party balloons, but also for MRI scanners, physics experiments and space rockets. But supplies on Earth are getting dangerously low, warns Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
WHEN I was 4, my favourite book was Balloonia by Audrey Wood. It tells the story of a little girl who realises that balloons have an afterlife when they float away. Wielding a sharp pin, she takes a balloon hostage, demanding that it take her to Balloonia. There, she experiences a world where everything is made of balloons, including the animals and the landscape they populate.
It is a wonderful tale. It is only later in life that I have come to worry it might be predicated on the continued availability of the second most …