Inside Biosphere 2: The World’s Largest Earth Science Experiment… – Eco Snippets

Inside Biosphere 2: The World’s Largest Earth Science Experiment…

Inside Biosphere 2: The World's Largest Earth Science Experiment...

Scientists wanted to know if we could replicate the Earth’s ecosystems, so in the Sonoran desert outside of Tucson, Arizona they built a three-acre closed-system environment designed to do just that. Known as Biosphere 2 (Biosphere 1 is the Earth), the project was started back in the late 1980s. The idea was to test if we could re-create the Earth’s ecosystems in a closed environment to help people to be able to live in space for an extended amount of time.

The project has had a rocky past. In the early 90s, eight brave souls pledged to live in Biosphere 2 for a full two years. “All of their food, water and amenities had to be obtained from inside the Biosphere,” says PBS’ The Good Stuff. The project ended up hitting a number of stumbling blocks. Oxygen levels got so low halfway through the first year that they had to put more in over fear for the safety of the Biosphere residents. The media deemed the project a failure. A second mission began in 1994, but ended only six months later due to mismanagement and to the fact that two crew members sabotaged the project.

But John Adams, deputy director of Biosphere 2 doesn’t see those projects as failures—merely learning processes. “What they did learn, and in my opinion the single most important lesson, was just how little we truly understand Earth’s systems,” says Adams.

Although people don’t live there anymore, the ecosystems have been growing for more than 20 years now, and researchers have been able to learn a lot from the project. In fact, although it was theorized for a long time, ocean acidification “was first demonstrated on a large-scale by researchers from Columbia University at Biosphere 2.”

And now the University of Arizona is getting ready to conduct the world’s largest Earth sciences experiment at Biosphere 2. Check it out below…

You can also check out what it was like living in the Biosphere in the video below, where Jane Poynter tells her story of living two years and 20 minutes in Biosphere 2 – an experience that provoked her to explore how we might sustain life in the harshest of environments. Check it out below…

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(9) comments

Will Pauly Shore be in this one, too?


Are they using all natural resources???


How indicative and hilarious that the past project continues… Without drama… Without humans. I’d say you have all the data and conclusions you need.


I was lucky enough to have worked on fume scrubbers for this.


Gee whiz. Who is funding this?!! Looks as if the vestiges of humanity will have a bolt hole once they fry us with carbon in the astmos and other noxious gasses. Sorry to sound so cynical


Shows how complex the earth’s system is, how little we know about its workings. We need to stop destroying our ecosystem if humanity is to survive.


I need a safe bios mcs disabled

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