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  • Commander, the Zeppelins are ready. What should we fill them with?
  • We should not fill them with helium but instead hydrogen, steam, ammonia, methane, coal gas, neon, nitrogen, plasma or even create a vacuum.
  • May I ask why, commander?
  • Although Helium is non-flammable and cannot combust, it is very scarce on Earth and therefore expensive.
  • Moreover, because the helium molecules are very small, it can easily diffuse through many materials, causing the zeppelin to deflate quickly unless we add an extra layer of aluminium.
  • Lastly,helium-inflated ships require equipment to recover water from engine exhaust to compensate for the weight of burned fuel and avoid releasing helium. The weight of this equipment will further reduce the available payload.
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