Does the helium gas in balloons float up into space?

(Image by anncapictures from Pixabay)

Question from Joyce Lawrence

While the helium in balloons does get lost, it doesn’t exactly float into space. It is light enough to drift to the upper atmosphere. Helium wouldn’t get into space on its own if it leaked from a balloon, but the Sun shoots out particles that churn up the upper atmosphere.

This can rip out some helium into space. Although this doesn’t happen to most helium, it’s still nearly impossible to retrieve it out of the air.

Answered by Andy Extance for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 136.

To feature in our Brain Dump section, send us your questions to [email protected] or message us on Facebook or Twitter

For more science and technology articles, pick up the latest copy of How It Works from all good retailers or from our website now. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, subscribe today!