Biosphere 2

The Biosphere 2 Project – Oracle, Arizona

Biospheric Design’s most famous design project is the Biosphere 2 Project, a magnificent laboratory for the study of global ecology. This 3.15 acre (1.28 hectares) miniature airtight world is sealed on the bottom by a stainless steel liner and on the top by a steel and glass space frame structure. Inside the laboratory is a 850-square mile coral reef (of which 682 miles is the area of water surface), a 450 square mile mangrove marsh, a 1,900 square mile Amazonian rainforest, a 1,300 square mile savannah grassland, a 1,400 square mile fog desert, a 2,500 square mile tropical agriculture system with farm and a human habitat with living quarters, kitchen, offices, and recreational spaces. Heating and cooling water circulated through the biosphere in independent piping systems, and electrical power was supplied to the Biosphere from a natural gas energy center, located outside Biosphere 2, through airtight penetrations.

The Habitat of Biosphere 2

Biosphere 2 was nominated by the USA Discovery Channel in 2003 as the #3 greatest engineering achievement in the 20th Century. Biosphere 2 was also the winner of the 1992 Gold Nugget Award for Best Architectural Design, its energy center received a merit award from Pacific Coast Builders for Best Industrial Project, it was honored as one of Time Magazine’s Top Ten Scientific Projects in 1993, and Biosphere 2 was featured by Columbia University for its contributions to ongoing ecological science.

The Test Module, Oracle, Arizona

Prior to the construction of Biosphere 2, Biospheric Design designed the one-person test chamber (see above) for the facility, called the “Test Module” which first proved the invention of the sustainability of a completely closed system.

Documentary Film, 1991: “Will Apples grow on Mars?”

Directed by Ken Howard and produced by Irving Rappaport. This remarkable film depicts the creation of Biosphere 2, the world’s first (and so far, only) totally sealed miniature world designed for long term human habitation.

Laboratory Biospheres and Earth to Mars Project

Biospheric Design is designing an Earth to Mars Project (ETM): a long-term, comprehensive program to design, construct and operate an Earth-based prototype life support system that will simulate a base for a manned Mission to Mars. Development of this Mars base will play a major role in (1) determining the feasibility of maintaining humans in a self-sustaining system on Mars, (2) pioneering new technologies for air, water and wastewater recycling, (3) developing the know-how for increasing food production, and (4) furthering studies of Earth’s biogeochemical and ecological processes. For the present, the ETM project is using the “Laboratory Biosphere,” (a 12’ cylindrical chamber, 1,400 cubic feet), to test scientific and engineering systems for the ETM project.

Laboratory Biosphere, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Click here for information on the Laboratory Biosphere Experiments and for further information on the closed system programs:

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