Biosphere

RV travel encourages a self-sustaining lifestyle — but nothing compares to Biosphere 2.

Biosphere 2, in Oracle, Arizona, is one of the most remarkable structures ever built. One of the largest greenhouses in the world, the 3.14-acre complex houses living organisms from five environments, also called biomes. These enclosed environments include a rain forest, ocean, wetlands, savannah and desert.

More than 1,000 species of plants and animals flourish in the structure, which was built in 1991 in an effort to create a self-sustaining environment that would provide invaluable data for future space exploration. In the early ’90s, a biosphere crew inhabited the facility for two years. Today, the biosphere also includes the former human habitat, along with current research areas. All are now managed by the University of Arizona.

Navigating Inner Space

BiosphereA tour of the facility is unforgettable. First, you will step through a door that gives visitors access to a building sealed off from the surrounding desert by a welded, 500 ton, 1/8″ thick stainless steel liner. Then, you will view an amazing variety of plants that can survive in this protected environment in the middle of a desert. Additionally, you will gain a glimpse of the structure, miles of pipes, tubes, wiring, wastewater tanks and other facilities that make up what is a self-contained “technosphere” designed to duplicate Earth’s recycling functions.

You will experience dome-shaped “lungs” beyond Biosphere 2 that are connected to the main structure by tunnels, which allow for air expansion created by changes in pressure within the greenhouse. A tour guide will astound you with facts about all of these things and the human experiment to survive within the structure without outside assistance.

Self Sustaining

Biosphere

You will be able to see where they lived and learn what their experiment taught us. From sleeping rooms, workspaces, a kitchen for cooking, gardens and an indoor sea, the occupants created their own world for survival. They grew all of their own food, including beans, rice, wheat, sorghum, sweet potatoes, beets, peanuts and herbs. Fruits included bananas and papayas, among others. Once every eight days, each crew member cooked for the others in rotation.

Plan to spend enough time at the Biosphere to not rush through the many interesting aspects of this facility. Located one hour north from Tucson, this tour is a great day trip best made in your tow vehicle. Try Rincon Country West RV Resort for a relaxing homebase, located near shopping, restaurants and all that Tucson has to offer.

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