Helium Spring There’s a global helium shortage. It’s not among the widely publicized problems of the world, but there is undoubtedly a helium deficit – the noble gas that most of us associate with party balloons and funny squeaky voices. Outside parties, helium is essential in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) because it helps to cool the machine’s superconductive magnets. It is also invaluable in the space industry to clean rocket engines, keep satellite tools cool, and to pressurize the inside of rockets running on liquid fuel. It’s also used to condense hydrogen and oxygen and turn them into rocket fuel. Even a thing as simple as a barcode reader in a supermarket has helium in it. Reserves, however, are not exactly abundant – helium is traditionally derived from natural gas in moderate quantities. Now, with growing use in medicine and space, helium reserves are dwindling and replacement is difficult. […]