Yes folks that’s right, there is a global shortage of helium looming. Already supplies are low and there are difficulties finding and refining more of the highly sought after gas. If you’re like me when I first heard this news a few months ago you might be thinking “Oh yeah? So what? Boo hoo, so there won’t be any party balloons at birthdays, big deal.” As it turns out however helium is used far more extensively than you might think. The arguably second most popular gas in the world has many important applications in the medical community, it has many uses in scientific equipment, and helium is a component in fiber optics. Depleted reserves, increased worldwide industry, and the fact that it’s always someones 7th birthday somewhere have lead to an enormous price hike on helium and a greater demand for the gas even as its availability dwindles.
Here are some links to a few articles that present some different views on the helium crisis, take a look:
I brought this up before in my post about space exploration and asteroid mining, if you missed it click HERE. I just thought this was an interesting subject and was worth revisiting. Next time your at the grocery store or somewhere they sell helium inflatables turn to the clerk with a grimace and ask them how they can sleep at night knowing that they are stealing that helium from some poor asthmatic child. They probably won’t know what the hell you’re talking about but maybe it will eventually help start a more open dialogue about helium preservation. In the mean time, anyone out there with a few billion dollars handy should really start working on perfecting the processes of remote asteroid mining cause there are whole chunks of frozen helium just floating around out there beyond our atmosphere. Not to mention asteroids made from gold, iron, platinum, and the list goes on.
That is all!