Biosphere 2

biosphere02 0

We’ve crossed another item off of our Arizona To Do list! This past Sunday, we toured the ecological research facility, Biosphere 2, in Oracle, AZ.

Biosphere 2, Tucson, AZ
View enlarged photo

Biosphere 2 is a bit of a controversy amongst Arizonans. Many believe it was a financial failure & waste, while others praise it as a great scientific project. I won’t delve into either of those, though the introductory video to the tour does skim over it. I will say that despite my husband and I both being individuals who are very critical of finance/economics, we went in to the tour with open minds & found it to be very interesting from a scientific perspective & a financial perspective.

Video before tour of Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
13 minute introductory video before the tour.

There were 2 “missions” at the Biosphere: the 1st lasted 2 years, the 2nd ended prematurely. The crew participating in the missions weren’t allowed to leave & were supposed to be entirely self sufficient using the agriculture they managed.

Kitchen cooking area inside of Biosphere 2, Tucson, AZ
Here is their kitchen.

Living quarters exhibit of scientists inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
An example of their living quarters.

glass greenhouse inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Salt Water ocean beach pool inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
Salt water ocean pool (containing various species of fish). We were told this “ocean” was at the highest sea level in the world.

Jungle tropical rainforest inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
Tropical jungle area that at one point had lemurs that liked to cause mischief & get into the machines.

Jungle tropical rainforest inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Salt water ocean pool inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
This ocean has a machine that generates small waves.

Bug insect experiment insideBiosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
Survival of the fittest bug experiment.

inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
Can’t remember what this was. Too much information for my non-scientifically-inclined-brain to process at this point.

Tour guide neon bright lime green eyesglasses at Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
Our tour guide with neon green eyeglasses.

Desert ecology inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Desert ecology inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
Air shafts / caves.  It sent up cool air as the desert environment was very stuffy.

inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Disney rocks, canyons inside underneath inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
Disney boulders –built by the same company that built the boulders/mountains for Disneyland.

Desert ecology inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Cave shaft underneath inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
View from inside those “caves” that sent up blasts of air.

basement underneath inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Desert basement, water pipes underneath inside Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Insider underground Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Inside, underground Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Low entryway to tunnel in Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Inside tunnel in Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Biosphere 2 air compression expansion chamber dome, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
Air chamber that expands & deflates throughout the day as the temperatures rise & lower. As soon as the door to this chamber was opened we could immediately see it start to deflate & lower.

Biosphere 2 air compression expansion chamber dome, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Hallway expansion of Biosphere 2 dome, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
Outside of the air chamber.

Exterior of Biosphere 2 dome, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
Very exterior of the air chamber.

Oman dedication replica exterior of Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

Water catcher hands at Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona
Rain catchers.

Exterior of Biosphere 2, Tucson, Oracle, AZ, Arizona

This tour was a little over an hour and does require a bit of walking through different temperature areas. Overall we found it very interesting. Piece of information that stood out the most: The only other known biosphere is Earth, Biosphere 1.

Oooooooh. Ahhhhhhh.

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