NATURAL RESOURCES: The Great Balloondoggle

Helium, the second lightest element, is most familiarly known as the gas that makes children's balloons rise to string-length heights. It also has scientific and military uses considered strategically important by the Federal Government. Helium has appeared on military embargo lists since before World War I, when the Allies used it in dirigibles.* Today it is used to lift weather balloons, to maintain pressure in liquid-propellant rockets and as a coolant in nuclear power plants. In liquid form, it provides supercool temperatures for laboratory experiments. Thus it seemed a sensible idea...

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