Monday, 18 April 2011

Biosphere 2

Biosphere 2 just north of Tucson off Highway 77 is one of the largest greenhouses in the world and is managed by the University of Arizona. It is sealed from the ground underneath it by a 500 ton welded stainless steel liner, it is 91ft high at its highest point and has 6,500 windows – wouldn’t fancy the job of cleaning them!

Miles of pipes, tubes, wiring, wastewater tanks and other facilities make up a ‘technosphere’ designed to recreate how the earth recycles. To stop the whole thing exploding under pressure dome shaped ‘lungs’ are connected to the main structure by tunnels.

Inside the South Lung.

From 26 September 1991 to 26 September 1993 and from 6 March – 17 September scientists were sealed inside as part of an experiment in human sustainability. The guided tour takes you through the separate habitat areas our first stop was the rainforest, which was very hot and steamy. Next was the savannah, followed by the ocean, the estuary and finally the desert.

Desert habitat.

Some of the many current experiments being carried out relate to how different plants adapt to drought conditions, another is looking at a way to keep buildings cooler using less electricity,

different types of solar panels and ground coverings are being evaluated to see if they can be used on contaminated ground successfully. Biosphere 2 also has amazing views of the Catalina mountains.

It’s a really interesting place and well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Have fun, we are!


  1. Thanks for writing about this project. I have been fascinated with the whole concept of “Biosphere” for years. Was there a fee for entrance?


  2. It's a fascinating place and well worth a visit, yes there was an entrance fee of $20.00 per person. However, if you have a Tucson Attractions Savings Passport as we do it is one of the 2 for 1 options available. The Savings Passports are well worth the $15.00 fee and are available from the visitor centre.

  3. I forgot to mention that the passports are valid for 12 months from September to September.