Biosphere 2 – Where Science Lives
Traveling to Tanque Verde Ranch and want to experience what the book by Life calls the 50 Must-See Wonders of the World? Just an hour north of the ranch is the Biosphere 2, an earth system science research facility that is 7,200,000 cubic feet of sealed glass containing 6,500 windows. Its highest point reaches up to 91 feet. Visitors can observe nature in a controlled state at this world-famous steel and glass research center where desert, forest, ocean and other ecosystems are monitored and studied. On September 26, 1991, eight people were sealed off inside Bioshpere 2, a 3.14-acre glass enclosure located in Oracle, Arizona. This marked the beginning of its first mission, a study designed to test survivability. The crew’s health was at stake as the oxygen levels decreased making it difficult to breath and it was ended seventeen months after. Another mission was started, but was terminated six months later because of management disputes. Biosphere 2 was soon reborn, but to be used solely as a scientific research institute. It houses classrooms and research facilities and offers educational programs to the public. University of Arizona currently holds ownership of the Biosphere 2. The under-the-glass walking tour of Biosphere 2 consists of approximately 150 stairs and the route is just under one mile to walk round-trip. The tour duration is 1 hour and 15 minutes with a considerable amount of standing. The weather can range from quite cold in the winter months to extremely warm during the summer months. The interior of the Biosphere 2 research facility is heated and cooled based on current research protocols, and as a result visitors may experience a variety of heat and humidity conditions on the under-the-glass guided tour. Experience the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2 and see for yourself the various ecosystems of the earth. A knowledgeable tour guide will take you on this adventure to explain the history, research and unprecedented science, taking place inside this engineering marvel. For more information, please visit www.b2science.org.