The initial idea behind Biosphere 2 was that a self-sustaining, closed system that mimicked the environments of Earth would be a necessity once humans began colonizing other planets. The project began in 1987, and ended up as the largest closed system ever created, spanning more than 3 acres and containing 5 distinct biomes. Though two attempts at having teams live inside the project ultimately failed, Biosphere 2 remains the world's largest earth sciences lab. Its miniature ecosystems continue to thrive and provide valuable data, and some of the experiments occurring within are geared toward the project's first mission: bringing a bit of Earth into space.
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Key Facts In This Video
Biosphere 2 is a 3.14-acre research facility in the Arizona desert, and the largest closed system ever created. 00:35
Biosphere 2 contains a gigantic, 40,000-pound (20-ton) "lung" to help the system deal with changes in air temperature. 07:08
One project inside Biosphere 2 is attempting to develop greenhouses that could sustain a single human astronaut for one year. 13:15