The Russians want to save us from the coming helium shortageThe Earth is running out of helium. Really! There's a limited supply; if you've forgotten your high-school chemistry, remember that helium is an element, and the only way to create it is through a nuclear reaction, and the helium we have is the byproduct of years of natural radioactive decay underground. And we're squandering helium at such a rate that the U.S. reserves will be almost all gone in 2015.
As any kid and they'll tell you that helium is awesome. I agree! As supporting evidence I point you to a fascinating article that opens, "This article is about the extraordinary gas helium". It would be a shame to have a future without helium.
But the future isn't totally bleak: Al-Jazeera is reporting that Russia plans to mine the moon for helium in 2020. (I never thought I would be typing THAT sentence.) I am a little sad because I doubt they'll let us use moon-helium to blow up balloons.
Update, 8/1/2006: In the past week or so, I'm getting tons of hits on this page, from all over the world. I'm curious why there's a sudden surge in interest for "Helium Shortage". Was there a recent event or story about the coming helium shortage? Is it happening sooner than we anticipated? If you're a recent visitor, and you can shed some insight, let me know. Thanks!
Tags: helium, gases, russia, moon, space, science, technology, balloons