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Eight people tried to live in the biosphere for two years – then everything went wrong



If we ever survive on other planets, we will have to come up with effective and sustainable ways not to die. This means growing food, having water and oxygen, and all the other things we have on Earth that prevents us from being a corpse.

Although we do not form a whole planet, we are left with the creation of our own artificial biospheres for human habitation, astronauts – closed ecosystems with their own oxygen, plants and everything we need to sustain life. Ambitious tests of this have taken place on Earth, including the infamous Biosphere 2.

Costing between $ 150-200 million, Biosphere 2 (Biosphere 1 is Earth, by the way, in case you’re wondering) is a desert research facility that ̵

1; for a while – was intended to be such a closed ecosystem, recreating many aspects of the Earth. Inside a 2.75-acre complex, enclosed by steel and glass-like domes The Simpsons movie, 3,800 species of plants and animals were imprisoned with eight people (four females and four males) who will rely on farmed food and circulating oxygen to survive.

The plan was for the project to run for two years, but it touched on problems from the start.

Two weeks after the mission, one of the occupants, Jane Poynter, caught her hand in the rice mill, losing the tip of one of her fingers. The resident doctor was able to put him back in, but soon decided he needed surgery outside the dome. When she returned later that day, provisions were being stolen from her, which turned out to be not the only secret reserves in which the “biospheres” would sink.

The food in the area is not growing fast enough to support the residents and they are all starting to lose weight. The crops were too slow to grow and labor intensive. Coffee bushes, for example, took weeks to do enough for a glass so that the biospheres could sit down and consider the problem of “we have no other food.” Within months, they were forced into emergency food supplies that the outside world did not know about.

Pollinators – hummingbirds and honey bees – died, increasing their agricultural problems. 10 months after the project, the advisory board issues a damn report on the situation as well as the fact that the crew members involved have little scientific experience. Then the advice is withdrawn, which is never a great sign that things are going great.

It was still worse, as oxygen levels in the biosphere began to fall and no one at the time could understand exactly why. In January 1993, after nine months of the experiment still remained, oxygen levels dropped to about 15 percent – the equivalent of living 12,000 feet (3,660 meters) up in the mountains.

“I felt like mountain climbing,” one participant told the Guardian. “Some of the crew started getting sleep apnea. I noticed that I couldn’t finish a long sentence without stopping and taking a breath. We worked in a kind of fun dance, without losing energy. If the oxygen levels had dropped lower, there could have been serious health problems. “

In addition to their stress, the biosphere has become a tourist destination to recoup high costs. As they starved, struggled to breathe, cockroaches began to conquer, and mites attacked their crops, they were observed as in a zoo.

The group broke, throwing glasses and spitting at each other. With a morale as low as oxygen levels (mainly the last one), it was decided that the crew would receive food, as well as secret seeds and vitamins, which were inserted into the complex every two weeks.

Half of the crew wanted to continue without outside supplies, while the other half were interested in things like “food” and “being able to breathe.” It was decided to supply oxygen and food to the crew, who spent the rest of their time in their sustainable habitat, receiving supplies and breathing air from Earth.

The biggest take on the project was essentially to expect the unexpected. When they entered, the team had not foreseen problems such as oxygen dropping (it turned out that the soil was contaminated with oxygen-absorbing bacteria), perhaps because the whole project was started by a hippie theater troupe and not by scientists.

However, the project was not over, but a strange turnaround is still ahead. Steve Bannon (yes, that Steve Bannon) took over the management of the project in 1993. A second crew had already entered the turret when Bannon fired the entire management.

When members of the first mission heard about this, their concerns about the safety of the people inside grew. On April 4, 1994, two former biospheres – Abigail Olling and Mark Van – headed down to the dome in the early hours of the morning, opening doors and smashing glass panels to allow outside air to invade Biosphere 2, forcing the experiment to begin. end.

Since then, no one has lived in Biosphere 2. Which, given the lack of oxygen and food there, is probably a good thing.




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