A Tour of Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona

For people who wonder how climate change will affect our natural environment, the Biosphere 2 project located in Oracle, Arizona, is a fascinating destination. Even for those who don’t have a scientific bent, the tour of Biosphere 2 is worthwhile.

Biosphere 2 was used by scientists who were once sealed inside, but is now open to the public. People may view the rainforest, ocean, desert and “water and life experiment” as well as other areas. In a nutshell, all five of the Earth’s “biomes” are recreated and enclosed under 7,200,000 cubic feet of sealed glass. The structure sits on a 34.5 acre campus. The facility itself is 3.14 acres.

My only warning is that the tour includes more than a mile of walking and some tight spaces, so I don’t recommend it for people who are not healthy. However, there are some areas accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.

Biosphere 2 became open to the public in 1990. The project was created to help scientists understand how we could sustain life. Scientists today continue to conduct various experiments.

I thoroughly enjoyed the educational tour, which began with a short movie explaining the experimental project to create a replica of the Earth’s ecosystems.

When I visited the Biosphere 2 in 2011, it was under the management of the University of Arizona. They use the site as a laboratory to study climate change and other issues.

I enjoyed viewing the rainforest modeled after the Venezuelan rainforest. While I was there, the rainforest was cool. The scientists can “make it rain,” or leave it dry depending on their experiments. Other sections were extremely hot.

I also visited the ocean viewing gallery and the upper habitat that was the former living quarters for those sealed inside. That area is now used for offices and classes.

Although the Biosphere 2 missions were somewhat controversial, I am sure the missions weren’t really meant to be studies in “confined environmental psychology.” It would be extremely difficult for anyone to live with just a few people in a confined space, eating only the food they produced inside the “bubble.”

There was a lack of oxygen and too few calories for the scientists so the project was ended early, but was still a major breakthrough in terms of understanding our habitats.

More important now, in my opinion, is how this site is being used to study climate change.

It’s definitely worth a visit. It gave me hope that scientists are making a difference to figure out how we can survive a bit longer on this fragile planet.

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