快乐飞艇开奖app Those of us lucky enough to spend the vast majority of our time at home these days are discovering both the possibilities and limitations of life within a closed ecosystem. I’ve learned that the Wii I bought back in high school still works just fine, and that my kitchen is just a bit too small to jump rope in. But imagine what could be discovered in a truly self-sufficient environment, one filled with plants, animals, and other people but entirely without access to grocery stores and take-out meals.
That’s what the minds behind the Biosphere 2 project tried to find out when, in 1991, they locked eight volunteers inside a greenhouse-style complex, and, with some notable exceptions, didn’t open the door again for two years. The story of what Time magazine later dubbed of the 20th century is the subject of the new documentary Spaceship Earth, which is currently streaming on Hulu快乐飞艇开奖app. Here’s what you should know.
What was Biosphere 2?
快乐飞艇开奖appIn 1967, engineer John Allen co-founded an ecology-minded experimental performance troupe called Theater of All Possibilities. Eventually, the group settled in New Mexico and founded , which, like other late-sixties efforts at communal living, found a group of idealistic young people working to build a sustainable community. Their efforts attracted the attention of Edward Bass, a Texas oil scion, who funded the group’s ecological and artistic work.
快乐飞艇开奖appWith Bass’s backing, Allen began work on Biosphere 2 in 1984. (The earth’s surface, and the land, atmosphere, water, and living beings that comprises it, is .) Their project would attempt to replicate this closed system on a far smaller scale, with the goal of learning about our planet and potentially building a model for communities that could colonize space.
The group hired consultants from the Smithsonian and the University of Arizona to lend the effort, and built its campus in Oracle, Arizona, located about an hour outside of Tucson. The crew selected for the first mission consisted of four men and four women, . Abigail Alling, Linda Leigh, Taber McCallum, Mark Nelson, Jane Poynter, Sally Silverstone, and Mark Nelson, worked in fields including environmental science and aerospace engineering. Only crew doctor Roy Walford was a before Biosphere 2. Walford was known as an advocate of calorie restricted diets that some researchers believe hold the potential to .
Their mission began on September 26th, 1991, and was covered extensively by the media. The crew said their farewells to the outside world while clad in Star Trek-style uniforms, though they wore regular clothes over the course of the experiment. The night before the experiment began, 2,000 people, including , attended a send-off dance party that featured stilt dancers and a fire juggler.
The project, a for-profit venture, had many critics. “Biosphere 2 looks more like a theme park than an R&D site,” , “the gift shop, in a converted test module, is crammed full of T shirts, bumper stickers, key chains, playing cards and books touting the virtues of ‘biospherics.’ Visitors (some 650,000 to date) pay $9.95 for tours, and will soon be able to peer into the terrarium itself, watching the biospherians at work.”
Prior to Biosphere 2, researchers had worked only with fist-sized closed ecosystems populated with organisms no more complex than shrimp. In addition to the eight humans, Biosphere 2 contained from bats to bush babies. Some outside researchers argued that with this number of variables present, it would be impossible to isolate the relationships between organisms within the ecosystem.
Still, the project had its successes. For two years, the crew recycled their water, a feat the wouldn’t be able to accomplish for nearly two decades more. They grew the majority of their food, and emerged from the two-year long experiment thin but healthy. Though plant and animal species did die out, they largely kept their ecosystem alive.
快乐飞艇开奖appBut there were many failings as well. Two weeks in, Poynter accidentally cut off the tip of her finger in an , and had to exit the dome for surgery. For some researchers, her departure and re-entry was enough to invalidate the experiment, but worse still, Poynter returned with a duffel bag full of supplies, which would be pretty tough to come by on a self-sustaining space colony. It was later revealed that other supplies were regularly delivered to the crew, and that their supposedly self-sustaining atmosphere was rendered habitable with the help of a carbon dioxide scrubbing machine of the kind used on submarines. Despite its help, their oxygen levels dropped, and had to be with pumped-in air. The group’s scientific advisory board .
Social troubles also plagued the effort. Critics called Allen , while inside the Biosphere the crew fragmented into two factions divided over differences of opinion regarding their research goals. According to a on the endeavor, the crew hardly spoke to each other by the end of the two years. Still, they soldiered on, and emerged on September 26th, 1993. Later, Poynter and McCallum returned to the facility for their wedding.
How did the original Biosphere 2 project end?
快乐飞艇开奖appDespite the income from visiting tourists, Biosphere 2, which cost $200 million, was operating at a steep deficit. , then a California investment banker, with reshaping the project. A second mission began in March 1994, and seven new crew members were sealed inside. Shortly after, Bannon fired the original leadership team, including Allen.
On April 5th, 1994, Alling and Van Thillo snuck onto the Biosphere 2 grounds and broke into the facility, opening five doors and damaging the ventilation system. After their arrest, they explained that they were concerned the new leadership wasn’t adequately maintaining the facility, imperiling the lives of the new crew. That second crew called it quits in December, ahead of schedule. Bannon transferred control of the facility to Columbia University.
What happened to Biosphere 2?
Biosphere 2 faded from the headlines, but in 1996 it was immortalized in the truly atrocious Pauly Shore comedy Bio-Dome. But it also has a far more noble legacy. Bass donated the in 2011, and while there aren’t media-attracting space-age experiments unfolding at the facility, it’s home to serious environmental science. More than have been published based on research performed at the facility, including landmark undertaken at its in-house ocean.