and drink plenty of it

Traveling Them Thar Hills

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Biosphere 2 Oracle/Tucson

We decided to tour Biosphere 2, since we love Biosphere 1 where we have been living our whole life!
This was a pretty amazing place with a very interesting story that out guide presented. We got our tickets off of Groupon and saved a bunch. Here are a few pictures from our tour. It’s now owned by the University of Arizona and used to advance the understanding of natural and man made environments. It consists of 7 model Eco systems that you walk through under one large experimental apparatus. There’s a rainforest, with 90 tropical trees handpicked to not exceed 90 feet in growth, so as not to outgrow their environment; a forested swamp dominated by mangroves, a tropical savanna, coastal fog desert, and an ocean. All these are under one building plus the equipment and housing for the inhabitants.
Just looking at it from the outside is interesting, but what’s inside and how all of this works together is the amazing part.


The desert below 

Interesting facts

The last few pictures of the air bladder, which is one of the two there, referred to as ” the lungs” is what totally blew me away! We walked in the long tunnel or airway from the main complex than into the lung. It was very windy at the entrances and exits. The roof of the bladder or lung expands and contracts with the changing pressure brought on by the changing temperatures through out a 24 hour period. The rubber and concrete roof weights 13 tons and in one day it raises and lowers 6 to 8 feet from the changing pressure inside the biosphere. The legs and feet as seen in the picture land on the floor in the totally relaxed pressure. If not for these two lungs the structure and glass would either blow out or caved in. Pretty ingenious stuff!

The outside of the lung

The throat or air tunnel

Inside the lung

Today, most of the facility is opened to the public for tours, but the original purpose was to house people to see if they could survive in a totally contained world. The first group of 8 people to inhabit Biosphere 2 stayed inside for two years (1991 to 1993) – I would love to hear some of their stories around a campfire!