Sunday, March 16, 2008
After three years of curiosity, we finally made it out to Biosphere 2. For full background info on the project, check out this Wikipedia article. To sum it up in my terms, it was built by eccentric millionaire Edward Bass a la Howard Hughes to "better understand how natural environments create habitable conditions for human sustainability" - in other words, build a space colony. The goal was to make the whole structure almost completely independent of the outside world - and sustainable. That means all aspects of the five biomes are controlled (temperature, rainfall, sunlight, etc.)
It's a fascinating concept scientifically and the building is a feat of engineering. But what I liked the most about it was the human history involved.
Chances are, depending on your age, you may have heard about Biosphere 2 when the first mission took place from September 26, 1991 to September 26, 1993. The crew included four female and four male researchers who were to prove they could live sustainably in the Biosphere for two years. So nineties, eh? Well, as expected, put eight people in a fishbowl for two years and what do you get? Drama! The group purportedly divided into factions based on what they believed the "real research purpose" of the experiment to be. And yes, there was screwing. At least one couple resulted from the whole thing.
No, I didn't get this info from the tour (although I did get to imagine how it all went down while browsing through the part of the biosphere that had been the researchers' living quarters. Picture of their dining table above). I got the info from a person who shall remain nameless who works for a place that shall remain unnamed in a capacity that shall remain unrevealed...aren't you intrigued?
We followed up our field trip with a screening of the movie Biodome(1996) at my place. It was quite possibly the worst movie EVER.