To The Biosphere and Back Again

February 14th, 2003 | Posted by paul in Uncategorized

I went to visit my old stomping grounds in Tucson last week and had a chance to visit the Biosphere 2 project again. My first trip there was back in 1987 before they broke ground on the actual biosphere. For the first time they are starting to letting people go inside to take a peek. My wife and I went into both the savannah and desert regions. Here are a couple of photos we took while in the ocean and rain forest sections.

biosphere02

biosphere01As a physics student at the University of Arizona, I had friends who were directly involved with the Biosphere 2 project back in its infancy. The magic and excitement around the project at that time was intense. I went there several times in 1987, years before they began actual construction of the biosphere complex itself. During that time there were the opulently designed and furnished administrative “ranch” houses, some hyper-modern research labs with some smaller closed-biosphere experiments, as well as a very large greenhouse, where they were accumulating plant/tree species from around the world. In 1987 it was like stepping into the future. As a space settlement advocate and L5 Society member the chance to see this project take shape up and close and personal was exhilarating.

Many people say the project was a total failure – but I could not disagree more strongly. Sure mistakes were made, but isn’t that the whole purpose of an experiment, to see what happens, and adjust accordingly? An enormous amount of knowledge was gained in the so-called “failures” of the first Biosphere project, and our knowledge of both small-scale closed biospherics and the large one that surrounds the earth has increased considerably as a direct result of this project. Columbia University is currently running the project.

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