The Biosphere 2 – An Arizona Experiment

Built in 1987, the Biosphere 2 was originally built to be a self-contained, closed ecological system to study how closed ecosystems might be used in space colonization. The facility housed two missions between 1991 and 1994 where scientists were sealed inside the structure to determine survivability in a self-contained space colony. The structure, modeled after Biosphere 1, the Earth, contains 5 ecosystems including an ocean complete with a coral reef, mangrove wetlands, a tropical rainforest, savannah grasslands and a fog desert. Although much information was learned during the live in experiments, the enclosure was not found suitable as a sealed environment. In 1994, the property was sold to a private corporation and was managed by Columbia University from 1996 to 2003. During these years, the structure was unsealed and repurposed to study the effects of carbon dioxide on plants. The property was sold again to another private company in 2007 and leased by the University of Arizona who assumed management of the property in June of 2007. The U of A continues to study the consequences of global climate change in the 6 biomes of the 3.14 acre facility. The facility is open to the public with thousands of visitors taking daily, guided tours though the Biosphere. Adult admission is S20 with children between the ages of 6-12 $13.00. The Biosphere is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm.