Biosphere 2


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Biosphere 2,

privately funded ecological research project in which eight people lived sealed in a 3.15-acre (1.28-hectare) structure for two years (Sept. 26, 1991–Sept. 26, 1993). Located in Oracle, Ariz., about 35 mi (56 km) north of Tucson, and designed to depend on the outside only for electricity and sunlight, Biosphere 2 was intended to test the feasibility of a self-sustaining space colony. It contained over 3,500 plant and animal species and attempted to reproduce five ecosystems (see ecologyecology,
study of the relationships of organisms to their physical environment and to one another. The study of an individual organism or a single species is termed autecology; the study of groups of organisms is called synecology.
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)—desert, grassland, marsh, ocean, and rain forest. The human inhabitants (four men and four women) were to grow all their food and recycle their wastes, but used some seed stocks as food. The project's validity was questioned by scientists who criticized the plan to use outside electricity, the presence of stores of food and animal feed, and other aspects. A decline in the oxygen level led to the pumping of oxygen into the complex in 1993. A second crew entered Biosphere in Mar., 1994, but various disagreements and allegations of mismanagement made by the chief financial backer, Edward Bass, finally led to the abandonment of attempts at self-sufficient living. From 1995 to 2003 the management of the project was taken over by Columbia Univ., which used the facility for education and scientific research on environmental issues. In 2007, the Univ. of Arizona assumed management of the facility; it acquired Biosphere 2 in 2011.
References in periodicals archive ?
Biosphere 2 was, in its original phase, a huge greenhouse, sealed off from the outside world.
Dreaming the Biosphere: The Theater of All Possibilities is for any library interested in Biosphere 2, and offers insights on a project once abandoned and now a University of Arizona research center marking one of the largest ecology experiments ever conducted.
The inventor of Biosphere 2, a glass domed ecosystem in which eight people lived in the Arizona desert from 1991-93, is considered either a visionary or a mad scientist.
Decisions Investments Corporation, the Fort Worth, Texas, company that owns Biosphere 2, announced last January 3rd that it was looking for a new owner or partner for Biosphere 2's 250-acre campus and laboratory in Oracle, Arizona, 56 kilometers (35 miles) north of Tucson.
One sample was taken from a completely contained, isolated coral reef ecosystem in the enclosed Biosphere 2 ocean in Arizona.
Biosphere 2, in the hills of Arizona's high Sonora Desert north of Tucson, offers visitors the chance to learn about Earth's inner workings and how everything on the planet works together.
Learning About the Planet At the Reborn Biosphere 2
Last month, after 18 years of government service, William Harris abandoned the no-nonsense National Science Foundation for the fringes of science: He took over as director of Biosphere 2. Harris' new boss, Columbia University, began managing the controversial megaterrarium, located in the cactus-filled desert of Arizona, early this year.
It's no surprise that they took big gulps of Earth's air; the air inside their dome, called Biosphere 2, had lost quite a bit of life-giving oxygen.
Biosphere 2 seemed such a dreamy, idealistic venture last fall: A futuristic glass and steel "experimental environment" in the desert.
Biosphere 2 (Earth being Biosphere 1) is an experiment in closed system ecology.