(it's a shame the K-12 students are local and that programs aren't available
to K-12 elsewhere)
I had heard of Biosphere 2 but didn't know where it was or that Columbia
was involved. I knew it as a failed experiment and business venture although
no one will admit it. The experiment carried out in the 80's was designed
to determine if people from Earth could function for two years in a closed
environment without additional resources from the outside. It was supposed
to develop knowledge in preparation of space exploration. From the beginning
there was a problem and rumors that the Bionautes were sneaking out for pizza.
Where in this desert I couldn't say but I didn't understand that at the time.
The guides deny all of this but I remember that the experiment lost it's credibility
and may not have even completed its two year planned isolation although again
the guides say otherwise.
It was built by a rich Arizonian who as I recall planned to open
it up to the public as sort of a scientific Freedomland or Disney World after
the experiment created buzz. The experiment was mired in controversy
and the builder's dreams never materialized. While it opened to the public
in 1990 it never caught on as a major tourist attraction. In 1996 Columbia
University was brought in to administer the Biosphere and create a major
scientific institution to study the Earth.
Biosphere 2 covers 3.5 acres, it is 91 feet at its highest point,
It is sealed from the Earth below by a 500 ton welded stainless steel liner.
Biosphere 2 contains five biomes - a rain forest, desert, savanna, marsh
and ocean. (a biome is a self sustaining community of living organisms.)
The 25 foot ocean contains a million gallons of salt water.
There are two tours one takes you around the perimeter and the other takes
you inside "under glass" We did them both and it was fascinating.
for more information visit Http://www.bio2.columbia.edu
We finished our exploration of the Tucson area with a visit to Sabino
We rode the shuttle to the end, about 5 miles (you
can't take a car)
and walked back along the Rim
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