Imagine being sealed in an airtight self contained bubble world with seven other people for two years. Would it be a utopian scientific experiment or a social disaster?
Thirty miles north of Tucson, Arizona such a bubble world exists. It’s called “Biosphere 2” (Biosphere 1 being earth). It was created in the late 80’s at a cost of 200 million dollars in private funding. Yes, no tax payer money was wasted in the making of this elaborate bubble.
So how did this giant and elaborate experiment turn out? Well, lessons were learned. Including that you shouldn’t put five men in a bubble with only two women. Infighting, conflicting agendas and “drama” ensued and the second mission in 1994 had to be aborted. But all was not lost – Jay Leno and other comedians were provided with ample material for jokes.
It even inspired a movie parody called Biodome, starring Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin. Hard to know what was a bigger waste of resources, the Biosphere 2 project or the Biodome movie (see excerpt below).
Personally, after touring this elaborate stinky bubble for an hour, I was anxious to leave. Some how I don’t think everyone’s bad breath is being fully recycled. However, for those who are not claustrophobic, tours are given on a regular basis now that the “biospherians” have been evicted.
The complexity of the technology down below that supported the biosphere was amazingly complex, extensive and expensive. It serves as a reminder of how much we take our natural ecosystem (Biosphere 1) for granted. Given the expense and complexity of Biosphere 2, we better keep Biosphere 1 operational.
BioDome – the Movie
Next Stop – The Natural Arizona Desert (outside the bubble)