columbia in arizona
(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.)

biosphere ocean
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://

We finished our exploration of the Tucson area with a visit to Sabino Canyon

We rode the shuttle to the end, about 5 miles (you can't take a car)
sorbino rim
and walked back along the Rim

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