The US Navy has just unveiled a new diving suit prototype, and aside from being more efficient than older models, it also helps conserve helium. See, the agency's current suit uses Fly-Away Mixed Gas System (FMGS), which releases gases the diver exhales into the sea, including huge amounts of oxygen and helium. According to the Navy scientists that designed the new version, it "modifies the current helmet and rebreather," and tests prove that it can drastically reduce the consumption of the noble gas-- important in the midst of a global helium shortage. While we can make do without balloons or squeaky voices in parties, the gas is also used for more important purposes, such as operating MRI machines and the Large Hadron Collider.Since the new suits need a lot less helium, they don't take up as much space in vessels, which means divers could ultimately use smaller vehicles. This doesn't only translate to lower costs: it could also allow personnel to escape dangerous situations or first responders to get to hard-to-reach locations more quickly.
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