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Biosphere 2 – an oasis in the Arizona desert

Roger Boddaert

Special to the Village News

Recently I had the grand experience of visiting Biosphere 2 out in the Sonoran Desert with my family, and boy what an incredible field trip of a lifetime.

Biosphere 2 was built 30 years ago to develop new technology for humans living in space someday.

The major funding came from Texas billionaire Ed Bass who believed in the dream and donated $250 million for the project.

Built on 3.1 acres, a series of massive structures rise like giant greenhouses of steel and glass.

Within the amazing structures, the size of three big football fields, is a simulated ocean, a rainforest, savannah, a desert, and mangroves, all self-contained within the structures.

The place had eight earth researchers with one doctor from all over the world living and working in Biosphere 2.

Researchers and scientists from the University of Arizona now work daily with some 100,000 annual visitors viewing the exhibits.

Scientists are studying climate change, how rainforests and oceans soak up carbon dioxide, how weather and water turn rock into soil, and how cities can use energy and water in more friendly ways on the planet.

The Biosphere site was chosen where there were the sunniest annual days, so food could be grown for the scientist inside the Biosphere to become more sustainable.

The goal of Biosphere 2 was to build an enclosed living environment that could provide humans with all their needed air, water, and a steady food supply if built in space stations on other planets.

· Stainless steel sheeting is underneath all the massive structures so not to touch the desert floor and be self-contained.

· 6,600 windows of 2-pane glass were constructed.

· 91 feet at its highest point inside the Biosphere 2 building

· 4 years to construct and to last 100 years.

· 16,000 tons of concrete were poured for its foundations.

· After the structures were built, plant materials from all over the world were imported to plant within Biosphere 2.

· 91 giant specimen trees had to be craned into place.

Corals were imported from the Caribbean, grasses from Africa, cacti from the Arizona desert, all were part of landscaping the various ecosystems.

Food crops like bananas, papaya, fig trees, eggs from chickens, milk and meat from goats, grains for cereals, all were part of the agricultural component to be self-sustaining.

No pesticides, no hazardous chemicals, no poisons, human waste was recycled and composted to be used within the system in feeding the plants.

The eight biosphere scientists had their own enclosed apartments, with a homey atmosphere to be comfortable in.

Multiple scientific collectors, wind machines, sensors, foggers, motors, pipes, tubing, computers, were installed to monitor the atmosphere throughout the giant science project and this data was sent off to other scientists around the world to study.

We must understand that plants and especially trees are one of nature’s natural air conditioners. They take in the bad carbon dioxide and release clean oxygen into the air for us to breathe.

Let us make our little hamlet of Fallbrook a unique ecological biosphere to recycle, reuse, repurpose, and rethink our future as we move into new times living on earth.

Plant trees to help Mother Earth and cool down our planet.

May the forests be with you and yours.

The Tree Man of Fallbrook can be reached at 760- 728-4297.

 

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