Biosphere 2

In 1991, a group of four men and four women researchers entered the sealed mini-world of Biosphere 2,  an ecosystem complete with wilderness areas, a farm, a rain forest, a desert, wetlands, and even a coral reef in a 25-foot-deep, 150-foot-long ocean. They would live, work and study inside this bubble for two years.

Biosphere 2, was then ”the greatest experiment ever conducted in ecological self-organization, revolutionized the field of experimental ecology”. It has not been repeated on this scale, since.

Today, Biosphere 2 forms part of the University of Arizona and consists of seven model ecosystems, a team of multidisciplinary scientists, a broad science education and public outreach program, and a modern conference center. The seven model ecosystems are: 1) a mature rain forest with over 90 tropical tree species, 2) a 2600 m3 ocean, 3) forested swamps dominated by mangrove trees, 4) a tropical savanna grassland, 5) a 1400 m2 coastal fog desert, 6) three desert hillslope grass-shrubland landscapes, and 7) Biosphere 2, its campus, and associated buildings and facilities serve as a 162,000 m2 model city and urban ecosystem. Its mission is to serve as a centre for research, outreach, teaching and life-long learning about Biosphere 1 – our planet, its living systems, and its place in the universe.

You can find out more about this unique, fascinating-turned-controversial project on the Biosphere 2 website, an article on Space.com and a feature by a member of the original team on Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.

Oracle, AZ

January 28th, 2019

2 thoughts on “Biosphere 2

  1. Many thanks, Lia, for this visit ! It indeed touches me as the original idea was to create a self-sustainable environment to anticipate a human settling either on the Moon or on Mars. As far as I know, and as usual, the original objective was not met but plenty of scientific discoveries were made.

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  2. So impressive! And as time goes by, now … already, we’re seriously seeing near time expolorations and habitations of Mars, with far reaching experiments like this contributing the basis for sustainability of humans there, and even further within our solar system. Having aleady been an advid if not young amateur astronomer when JFK made his promise to land on the moon, his words still resonate today: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” It was just the beginning! And the benefits of the biosphere science undoubtedly play a benificial, if not critical part in this human endeavor. Thanks for this remarkable look. M 🙂

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