October 27, 2010

Biosphere 2, A Closed-System Study, Oracle, Arizona

Today we visited Biosphere 2 located in Oracle, Arizona.

Biosphere 2 was built to be an artificial, materially-closed ecological system.

The building covers 3.15 acres and in the early 1990's was used to explore the complex web of interactions within life systems.

Named after Planet Earth, which is Biosphere 1, the facility allowed the study and manipulation of a biosphere without harming Earth.

Two closed missions were undertaken in Biosphere 2. The first lasted two years starting September 26, 1991 with a crew of four men and four women making Biosphere 2 their home. The second mission lasted six months in 1994 with five men and two women.

Passing the kitchen and dining area, we venture into the crew's living quarters.

Each crew member had their own two-story apartment with living room and bedroom while sharing a bathroom with one other crew member.
Three crew members from the first mission...

Here we are walking through an airlock into one of Biosphere 2's biomes.

Biosphere 2's ocean has one million gallons of water and its own coral reef.

The temperature and climate of each of Biosphere 2's biomes can be changed in just a matter of minutes.

The guided tour takes visitors through the building's various biomes and underneath the structure to see some of the mechanics of the facility. Here we are in the Upper Savanna Basement.
In order to view the Iron Lung, you must walk through this tunnel.
Inside one of Biosphere 2's Iron Lungs, visitors get an understanding of the danger of implosion in a closed system. The membrane hanging from the ceiling falls and rises as needed to equalize the pressure within Biosphere 2.
The energy plant of Biosphere 2...
Doug stands in one of the forests.
Here are a couple exterior shots of Biosphere 2.

Click here for a brief video of Biosphere 2 found on YouTube. Many others can also be found.

Here is a shot of a cactus.
For more pictures, click here .

To be continued...

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