Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Biosphere 2

It started more than 20 years ago as an experiment to see if we could sustain human life on Mars, or the Moon, or somewhere else in the universe other than Planet Earth. Ultimately the experiment came to an end. To some it had been a failure, but far from that, Biosphere 2 (Biosphere 1 being Earth itself) went a long way to begin the development of knowledge toward just that end. Currently managed by the University of Arizona, the Biosphere is part greenhouse, part laboratory, part tourist attraction, part sustainability demo, part conference center, and part public education facility. It is a fascinating tour. The structure, the mechanics that run the facility are almost otherworldly in and of themselves. It is literally a living, breathing wonder, complete with a set of "lungs", it's own ocean, full range of planetary environments from rain forest to desert and everything in between. The entire plant has the capability is of being kept perfectly air tight so that all variables - water, air, land - can be completely controlled. It is the ONLY facility in the world that has this complete controlability. The Biosphere has been on my personal list of things to see before I die for a long time. I loved it! My only regret is that the original experiment was unable to be sustained. The idea of total self sufficiency has long intrigued me. And even if that experiment had ended, I wish I would have had the chance to tour the facility totally in use as it had initially been designed. As Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing!"

Slide Show - Biosphere 2

The Visitor's Center in downtown Tucson was not only colorful but the staff was incredibly helpful with orientation and ideas for our visit to the area.

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