June 30, 2016 | Amy, Exhibition Developer, Science Museum

I had no idea how essential helium gas is beyond party balloons. It's crucial for hospital MRI scanners, the space industry and even bar-code readers. Worryingly, global supplies are running seriously low.

Helium forms underground by the slow radioactive decay of rock. It's mostly found in small quantities, but a huge 1.5-billion-cubic-metre field of the gas has just been discovered in Tanzania. It could be enough to meet the world's helium needs for the next few years.

If nothing else I'm certainly thinking differently about party decorations...

News

858 Likes | No comments

Do you like this story?

Poll

What is helium best used for?




Balloons

When helium is released into the air it is able to escape Earth's gravity and disappear into space.

Enlarge

Image: Flickr/warrenski

Share your comment

Write as if you were talking to a friend (and maybe in front of your mother!).

Keep it classy, keep it clean and keep your temper.

Comments may be displayed in the gallery as well as on the website - check out our Community Guidelines for more info.

Tags

Popular Posts