Friday, March 28, 2014

Travel Arizona: Biosphere 2

Young students study in a lab designed for just this purpose.
I never grow tired of going to Biosphere 2. I am always a little at a loss for words when I talk about it. Wikipedia says it is "the size of two and a half football fields, [and] it remains the largest closed system created. The glass facility is elevated 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above sea level at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, half an hour [north of] Tucson."  The physical description however cannot hint at the beauty of this man made creation or the wonder of the things that live and grow within. 

Biosphere 1 is our planet of course. Inside the Biosphere 2 some of the most common features of the Biosphere 1 are recreated. We were guided through a rainforest, past an ocean into a savannah and desert. We saw the interior mechanical parts that help run the recreation of earth and were allowed to see the place where the original Biospherians lived sealed in the structure for 3 years in the mid-eighties.

A young child walking  behind me was in wonder and told their father what fun it would be to be a "real" scientist and be able to go way into the forest or nearer the ocean and be able to see all of the things behind those closed doors. I could just feel how that might be.

I love that place.
Researchers were working in the "rainforest"
Cactus in bloom in the "ocean" desert.
The "lungs" of the Biosphere II looks very like a spaceship.
This apparatus controlled the air pressure inside the Biosphere
The panorama of the location shows the Catalina Mountains and the desert.
The interior reveals a miracle structure.

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