Following the most delicious, sad, late breakfast ever (at Prep & Pastry), we headed to Biosphere 2 in Oracle, AZ. Biosphere 2 started in the early 80s to research and develop self-sustaining space-colonization technoloy. Two Human Missions took place in 1991-94 to see how humans could live in a completely self-enclosed and self-sustaining environment. Turns out that the eight-person teams could not grow enough food to feed themselves and had no time for experiments because all their time was spent growing food and maintaining the facility. The complex, now owned by the University of Arizona continues as the largest facility in which to conduct controlled experiments on natural environments. There are ocean, rain forest, and desert biomes and areas for large-scale water and life and solar energy experiments.
The behind-the-scenes infrastructure is fascinating because it was constructed to mimic the natural environment in a completely closed system. It even includes two huge 'lungs' that were constructed to guard against the possibility that the sun would over heat the environment and cause the glass panes to explode.
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Ann, Doug, Moose, Darla, Sunny, and with gratitude, Winnie and Chinny.