Friday, July 24, 2009

Biosphere II

Arizona still has many "Open Range" areas and the road to Biosphere II is one of them.

This section was built to house scientists and students while they work at the Biosphere.

Originally built as a closed environment the Biosphere is now operated by the University of Arizona for experimentation including work on global warming.

The structure is an amazing piece of architecture with a geodesic design that is built to withstand the harsh Sonoran desert extremes.

The large done is actually one of two lungs that allowed for expansion and contraction of the air inside the Biosphere when it was sealed. As air heats up it expands and in a sealed environment like it was during the original experiments it was necessary to prevent the Biosphere from exploding or imploding.

The original eight biospherians lived inside for two years from 1991 to 1993.

Inside is the human habitat where they lived and grew crops as well as a tropical savana, a tropical thorn scrub, a coastal fog desert, a tropical ocean and the technosphere which contains mechanicals to support the various environments.

One million gallon tropical ocean.

Tropical Rain Forest.

Going inside the lung, which is part of the tour of the Technosphere, is a truly interesting experience. The space is quite large and you can see how the bladder moves up and down allowing excess air to move from the Biosphere and back again as it is needed to maintain the correct air pressure to prevent destruction of the facility.

The size of two and a half football fields it is impressive both inside and out.

Mechanical support buildings that supply power to the Biosphere.

This was worth the adult $20 tour fee and is something that anyone who visits the area should see for themselves. A great experience and very interesting to say the least. Half of the $20 tour fee goes to support research at Biosphere 2, and qualifies as a tax-deductible charitable contribution.

An amazing design.

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