Biosphere 2 not such a flop after all

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There is an interesting piece in Wired today on Biosphere 2 (B2), the controversial experiment in the 1990s that attempted to recreate biodiversity. It now turns out that it wasn’t such a waste of tax payers’ money after all, because important research is going on that could help us better understand the impact of climate change. The original objective of B2 was real ‘space odyssey’ stuff with eight people being sealed inside between 1991 and 1993. By all accounts, they clashed over the nature and direction of the research, and Time Magazine concluded at the time that the experiment in self-sufficiency was “less like science and more like a $150 million stunt.”

More interesting was a comment on the article from one reader, who wrote:

Another little-known factor was that the original group were associated with a religious group that believed god wanted them to go live on Mars to avoid the apocalypse. B2 was the test platform for the technologies they would use to make this happen. Some consultants warned of the potential O2/CO2 problems before the experiment even started. These concerns were dismissed by the researchers (who held degrees issued by the church’s own university) who claimed that the nay-sayers didn’t understand the “synergy” that would make it all work.

I knew the original venture was a little pseudo-scientific, but I had no idea religious extremists were involved (… and they may not have, it must be said, as I can find no other reference to this claim).

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