What was ‘Biosphere II’ and why did it fail?

Read the article by Geoff Garvey written in 1986. what were the aims of Biosphere II?

Earth’s First Space City 


By Geoff Garvey (adapted from the Sunday Mirror, 08-06-1986) 

Work has begun on a fabulous space city in preparation for the day people colonize the planets. When the £20 million complex is finished in 1989, eight people will be locked inside this unique environment. The three-acre wonder in Arizona is really an Earth in miniature. It will contain tiny oceans, rain forests, marshlands and deserts all contained within the airtight shield of glass and steel.

Everything inside the complex, known as Biosphere II, will be recycled. The carbon dioxide breathed out by the eight volunteers will be used by the plants, which in turn give off oxygen. Human waste will provide fertilizer for crops and feed algae, bacteria and water plants which in turn will feed fish.

This real life fantasy world is being developed on a 2500-acre ranch in the foothills of the Santa Catalina mountains. It is the brainchild of Texas oil billionaire’s son Edward P. Bass. NASA, the US space agency, have praised the project. A top scientist said: ‘They’re being bold enough to take that first step’.

The National Commission on Space is also keenly interested. In a recent report it said people could be living on the Moon and Mars within the next 50 years and insisted: ‘To explore and settle the inner solar system we must develop Biospheres.’

People are already being selected for the experiment. If it is successful it is hoped that more Biospheres will be made in other parts of the world within the next few years. These could also be used as shelters after nuclear war. A few survivors could then be protected from nuclear winter, the cold and darkness which many scientists believe would result from nuclear war.

Bio2 x-section 

Stimulus: Watch the TED clip from the Jane Poynter who was inside Biosphere II.

QUESTION: Note down the three most interesting points made by Jane Poynter in her talk.

TASK: Read Paul Recer’s (Science Writter) article (click on the heading below)

Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 11.53.42 AM


Download and save this document – Biosphere2 – then type up your responses onto this document. Keep this as your own notes and own work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s