The Closed World of Biosphere 2

December 15, 2016 at 5:46 pm 2 comments


The Closed World of Biosphere 2: Why an Eccentric Ecological Experiment Still Matters 25 Years Later, Edge effects, Dec. 15, 2016.

Including an exchange with Mark Nelson, May 2017.

Entry filed under: Publications.

Human Heliostat NYU School of the Earth

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. looking  |  November 10, 2019 at 5:12 am

    Biosphere 2 was only used twice for its original intended purposes as a closed-system experiment: once from 1991 to 1993, and the second time from March to September 1994. Both attempts, though heavily publicized, ran into problems including low amounts of food and oxygen, die-offs of many animals and plants included in the experiment (though this was anticipated since the project used a strategy of deliberately “species-packing” anticipating losses as the biomes developed), group dynamic tensions among the resident crew, outside politics and a power struggle over management and direction of the project. Nevertheless, the closure experiments set world records in closed ecological systems, agricultural production, health improvements with the high nutrient and low caloric diet the crew followed, and insights into the self-organization of complex biomic systems and atmospheric dynamics.

  • 2. Rohan Jolly  |  May 4, 2023 at 10:00 am

    It matters because without first mastering closed ecological systems on our own planet, we have no chance of exploring the solar system or even the galaxy. The knowledge we gain from such systems and experiments help us design better space stations and space shuttles which can allow for longer and more comfortable space exploration.


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