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Earth's helium reserves to run out within 25 years

Posted on Tuesday, 24 August, 2010 | Comment icon 20 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: Pslawinski

Helium has a wide range of applications from use in hospitals to cleaning rockets but how much do we have left ?

The world's largest store of helium is located at a disused airfield in Texas however it is being sold off too cheaply with no way to replace it once its gone meaning that our supply could expire within just 25 years.

"It is more commonly known as the gas that fills cheap party balloons and makes your voice squeak if you inhale it."

  View: Full article |  Source: Daily Mail

  Discuss: View comments (20)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by 747400 on 25 August, 2010, 8:31
Well, someone must have miscalculated badly, because according to teh Wikilypedia, So if humanity really can't work out how to obtain the stuff in quanitity, I really think they ought to start working out a way, don't you.
Comment icon #12 Posted by socrates.junior on 25 August, 2010, 16:04
I don't exactly see how anyone would be cowed by a lack of helium...maybe those who desperately crave high, squeaky voices? I guess the government would have them over a barrel.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Moonie2012 on 25 August, 2010, 18:24
An obvious question needs to be asked - Where the hell did they get the initial supply from, and why can't they get more?
Comment icon #14 Posted by questionmark on 25 August, 2010, 18:31
From the gas and dust cloud of which the earth condensed. To do it again we would have to start a new Big Bang.
Comment icon #15 Posted by socrates.junior on 25 August, 2010, 18:35
To be more precise, they got the supply from tritium decay. No more nuclear weapons, means no more tritium, means no more helium.
Comment icon #16 Posted by questionmark on 25 August, 2010, 18:42
The few pounds you get out of nuclear weapons really does not make any difference in the big picture. Balloon fliers use more every year.
Comment icon #17 Posted by 747400 on 25 August, 2010, 19:19
Surely everything has its origins then. And if the figure quoted by Wiky Pedia is right, there'd seem to be more than enough to go round. One suspects that this is just another attempt by American big business to monopolise the world's supply of something.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Mac E on 25 August, 2010, 19:27
Yes, but it is a matter of economics as well. Is it cost efficient to exctract it? We have been using the best and most cost efficient sources and when that is gone, the price will go up as it will become harder to obtain.
Comment icon #19 Posted by DieChecker on 25 August, 2010, 22:04
From what I read about Helium on Wikipedia, it is mostly produced by seperating it from natural gas, where it is created by natural radioactive decay. About 7% by mass is what it says. So as long as we have natural gas, we have helium. And from what I have read the natural gas supplies are expected to last 100 more years with the supply we know of now, at least in the USA.
Comment icon #20 Posted by greggK on 26 August, 2010, 23:13
All of you scientific minded people, fill a balloon with helium and what does it do? People are getting more obese now, right? Why? Do you think that if they were taller they would be less obese or not at all? Start pumping helium into the atmosphere.

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