AUG 13, 2018 2:57 AM PDT

Is Earth Running Out of Helium?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

If current global demand continues, we can face a shortage of helium within the next 40 years. Helium is the second most common element after hydrogen. In fact, a quarter of the mass of the entire universe is composed of helium, in which most of it is believed to have formed from nuclear fusion moments after the big bang. Although the fusion process that leads to helium is possible outside of earth, it is difficult to create helium on earth. Helium is actually made from the radioactive decay of heavy metals. Essentially, “making” helium is a very slow process occurring over millions of years where the helium gas collects in subterranean pockets.

 

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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