In 1991, eight people entered Biosphere 2. It is 3,15 acre sealed glass facility in Oracle, Arizona. It had been built to mimic the environment of Earth (Biosphere 1) and contained a mini ocean, tropical rainforest, desert, wetland, and grassland.
The idea was to determine, if the crew could thrive for two years in this environment. Also, they must had to grow food and conduct experiments. If it worked, humans would have moved a step closer to figuring out the concept of building colonies in outer space that would be fit for human habitation.
However, it didn’t work. The crew’s body masses began to drop, as well as oxygen levels in the complex. Meanwhile, these “Biospherians” began resenting each other, so after the two years the experiment was written off as a costly failure.
After another aborted attempt in 1994, Biosphere 2 was bought out before being donated to the University of Arizona in 2007. Finally, in 2011, it opened to the public and what proved to be a bad experience for those crews became a genuinely fascinating one for tourists.
On arrival at the 40-acre campus, what greets you is the strangely appealing juxtaposition of the vast and futuristic glass building surrounded by the jaw-dropping mountains of Arizona.This itself is worth the trip, but once you get in, you appreciate the scale of those 1990s experiments.
As you walk around this world within a world and between its hugely differing environments, you can imagine what it must have been like for those crew members. They anticipated a pioneering adventure that led to resentment and failure. Also, on your visit you’re likely to witness first hand the vital work being carried out there today; including research into growing new coral.
At the end of your trip, you may see Biosphere 2 as a gleaming example of a failure that became a success. After all, it is an essential center for present day scientific research as well as a truly fascinating place to visit.
Oracle, Arizona, 85739
Coordinates: 32.5798, -110.8507