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Titelseite Gases for Life No. 16Despite the plight of the refugees, the images of Pluto beamed back to Earth this year by NASA’s New Horizons probe may not have gone unnoticed by anyone. These images do indeed indicate entire regions consisting of frozen nitrogen with glacier-like flows.

Transporting nitrogen from a dwarf planet up to 7.533 billion kilometres from Earth to our customers is fanciful, of course. But this was once also true of the hoverboard, the legendary flying skateboard of time traveller Marty McFly from the film Back to the Future. On 21 October 2015, fans of the movie series will celebrate the day in the future to which McFly travelled in the second part of the trilogy. Spurred by this, there are now several inventors who are working on a functional hoverboard. This includes the carmaker Lexus, who in August of this year published a video showing a famous skateboarder hovering above a track. According to the developers, this works with two elements made of superconducting material, which is cooled to minus 197 degrees Celsius using liquid nitrogen. The superconductors then maintain a magnetic field which enables the hoverboard and rider – who can even perform jumps – to hover above permanent magnets.

Well – we are prepared. Even without Pluto, we can supply the nitrogen for this technology. We even have our own hoverboard. Find out more in this issue of Gases for Life, the industrial gases magazine. May the force be with you!

With a semicolon, or a wink, best regards and I hope you enjoy reading the magazine!

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