Who Knew?

The World Is Running Out of Helium

Birthday parties will never be the same: Scientists say the world could run out of helium in 25 to 30 years, especially because a U.S. law stipulates that the country’s National Helium Reserve—by far the largest in the world—must be sold off by 2015, regardless of the market price. That same law has made helium artificially cheap, to the point where one scientist estimates that a party balloon should actually cost about $100. Helium is used to cool MRI scanners and also for radiation monitors used for anti-terrorism purposes.