New science in the ruins of Biosphere 2

BoingBoing reader davidsongray visited Biosphere 2 recently, and took some photos of the site. Today, Biosphere 2 is owned by the University of Arizona. It's also being used for scientific research projects, including the Landscape Evolution Observatory, which will study the natural cycles of carbon, water, and energy, and how those cycles are affected by climate change and by natural systems like vegetation and microbes. The LEO experiments are being constructed in Biosphere 2 right now. That picture above shows the construction site set up in Biosphere 2's old agricultural area.

Some of the niftiest shots davidsongray took are from the living areas of Biosphere 2, which I don't remember having ever seen before.

Oh, and this isn't something where you need to know a guy to get in. Tours are $20 a ticket.

Via Submitterator


  1. I never did understand why they built a greenhouse in southern Arizona.

    I have a couple friends who were bionauts in the second mission. The second mission was the one in which they sent a farmer in there as well as scientists and visionaries, and they didn’t starve so much. The first crew was not quite as experienced at keeping themselves alive.

    1. Yeah, it should have been on the Canadian tundra or on Antarctica.  The far extreme where the sun is weak and the environment sucks.  As close to being like our dear red sister planet as we can get on earth.

  2. Hey, cool article. I was at the Biosphere as well…about 3 months ago. Here’s a link to 51 pictures I took. My favourites are of the diaphragm “lung” which equalizes the pressure in the dome. They are #’s 2206-2208.

    Their ocean was just getting back to health, and you can see some nice “sea gunk” in #’s 2217 & 2218.

  3. I wish they could have continued this research with the goal of setting up an enclosed (but simple) biosphere on Mars for the first group of permanent colonists.

    Also, if you are looking for neat architecture in Arizona, there is always Arcosanti.

    Maybe some sort of hybrid of design philosophy would help out a bit when constructing a habitat… as someone commented above, you need farmers to grow food because many scientists are not so good at it

    1. I was driving out of Tucson for a business trip one day and I saw the turnoff sign… how could I not go? 20 Bucks, no thanks. I was content to stay outside, where it is quite lovely.

  4. Could researchers regulated the amount of CO2 in the interior to control the temperature? Seems like that would be a way to unequivocally determine just how effective a heat trapping blanket it is.

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