Biosphere 2; Oracle, Arizona, February 26, 2015

Lots of changes since Jacque and I went to Biosphere 2 shortly after the second crew had completed their mission. Today’s tour was longer, including the elaborate underground facilities that keep everything going. It all looked like science fiction, but it is science.

Beatrix and I drove to Oracle on the Pinal Pioneer Parkway, then had a late lunch in Tucson before buzzing home on I-10. Spring flowers this year are very scarce in that part of Arizona. Must have not gotten their winter rains.

Astronauts traveling to other planets will need a self-contained environment where they can live for a long time, separate from the outside world. So Biosphere 2 was built in the 1980s, privately funded, to test such an environment here on Earth. Two crews were stationed there in the early 1990s, having no physical contact with the outside world, to see how well it worked. The first crew made it for two years, the second for a few months. Then Biosphere 2 became a science lab, first run by Columbia University and now by the University of Arizona.

Beatrix and her father enjoy the tour of Biosphere 2.
Walk down to the Lower Habitat to begin the tour.
Science fiction? No, this is science.
The interior is all made of pipes.
Sealed greenhouse tests the plants’ long-term survival.
It’s hot and humid in the Rain Forest.
They brought in real salt water for their ocean.
Really, Biosphere 2 is so much more than a glorified greenhouse!
Desert habitat includes many non-native species.
The lowest circle of Biosphere 2 is the South Lung, built to even out the air pressure and redistribute excess water.
Ascending the steps to the Great Pyramid (actually, the Rain Forest).
The finest in pipe architecture.
Boulder of Malachite and Azurite was a donation.

  Arizona Hike Pictures updated September 23, 2017