Balloons or Brains?

This is an image of a brain made by an MRI machine.

You have probably seen a balloon floating through the sky. Have you ever wondered what was inside?  

Helium is the gas used to fill balloons. It is much lighter than air. This is the reason balloons float. Just like a piece of wood floats on water, helium floats on air.  

Most helium is made by stars. This means that there is a ton of helium in outer space. On Earth, it is much harder to find helium. It is made underground when materials break down. This takes a very long time. When the helium gets used up, it takes a long time for the Earth to make more.  

Helium is important because it is used to make many products. One example is the magnets in magnetic resonance imaging machines. These machines, called MRI machines, let doctors view the brain. Doctors can use these images to diagnose tumors and other brain problems.  

As helium becomes harder and harder to find, people must decide what is most important.  

What Do You Think? Should we use helium to fill balloons or in MRI machines? 

Photo Credit: SpeedKingz/Shutterstock