On Friday the 24th we drove about 50 miles north of Tucson to the Oro Valley area to see what Biosphere2 is all about. It is located on the western base of Mt. Lemmon and the Santa Catalina Mountains. We remembered seeing this in the news many years ago. This facility (the original section) was built in the late 1980s at a cost of $150 million. In the early 90s a group of 8 people were sealed inside this artificial environment that mimic’s Biosphere 1 (the Earth) to see if life could be sustained and to measure various things about human interaction with an environment. The 8 Biospherians lived in the Biosphere for nearly 2 years. There were 5 biomes within the structure which were designed and built to be living ecological zones. There is a rain forest, a desert, an ocean complete with coral reef, a mangrove wetland and a savannah grassland all sealed within the Biosphere. There was also an agricultural area where they raised their own food and living quarters.
This was an amazing experiment and scientists learned a lot about the Earth’s living systems. The facility is now owned by the University of Arizona and, with the aid of some serious outside private funding, it remains a research and teaching facility. It cost $3 million/year to operate it. Time Life Books recently named Biosphere2 one of the 50 must see "Wonders of the World".