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Science

Science and Education in Biodomes 106

Guinnessy writes: "Many of you will remember the excitement around biosphere 2, a project to enclose 8 people in a sealed environment to see if they could survive a year on just the resources produced inside the dome. It failed (although they did discover some interesting data from it). Now, in the UK, a bunch of scientists, engineers and environments have created the Eden Project, a similar scheme (e.g. closed environments mimicking various climate conditions around the world) to biosphere 2 except the general public can walk through the domes to learn about the importance of plant life. Wired News magazine has an excellent article explaining some of the technology used in its construction (it amazed me how far they have come compared to the biosphere 2 design) and how it is educating the public." Hey, according to Mission to Mars all you need is some flapping canvas to keep your habitat secure.
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Science and Education in Biodomes

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  • Somehow, it makes me think of Big Brother [channel4.com], the reality TV show.
    • by cyroth ( 103888 )
      And it makes me NOT want to think about the movie Bio-dome with Pauly Shore
    • Re:Big Brother (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 )
      Reality show? Just how much reality is involved with Big Brother? Reality implies, that it's something that happens all the time all around the world, but other than that tv-show, how many times have you heard about 10 people being locked away in a secluded house for 100 days with no possible venue of privacy?

      The closest to that I can come up with is when the cardinals elects a new pope, but that's not on tv.
    • Unfortunately it makes me think of Bio-Dome [imdb.com] with Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin.
      *shivers*
  • by wildsurf ( 535389 ) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @06:14AM (#2853508) Homepage
    1. Pick a location.
    2. Build a small enclosure around yourself.
    3. Define yourself to be on the outside.
  • It would be nice, if edenproject could bring summer-like environment for whole year. Winters are so cold here, in Scandinavia.
  • This rocks! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I think this is a brilliant thing to be doing. If you read the article there have already been a bunch of technical spinoffs from this project (soil technology, building big light things etc) that will make a big difference in the 'real world'.

    And there's loads of plants in it! Speaking as a keen gardener ( how many of us on Slashdot, I wonder?) I can't wait to wander around it and go 'wow!'

    This is a great example of what really rich people can get done if they have some style. Kudos to Tim Smits.
    • "This is a great example of what really rich people can get done if they have some style"

      True - although in this case the really rich people where basically Quango's* giving out public funds (including the Millenium Commission which gave out money from the UK national lottery). The logos on the bottom left of the project's homepage links to its major funders.

      *Quango="Quasi-automous non-governmental organisation" (translators note: a very silly name for an unelected body, commission or board.)
  • From the site

    In a giant crater in Cornwall, England we bring the stories of our world to life. In the huge covered conservatories, or Biomes as we call them, you can visit the majestic rainforests, the Mediterranean, South Africa and California and in the Outdoor Landscape discover more about the plants and places that share our Cornish climate.



    I wonder what's in store for Biomes 2? I have an idea, since each city has a distinctive personality maybe we can adapt this for an urban enviroment.

    Welcome to the London Biomes where we recreate the wonders of South Chigago. I know I've said this before outside, however I find it nessasary to remind everyone again to please insure that all jewlery and any belongings of value are hidden safely out of siight thoughout the tour. Umm hello sir, company rules clearly state no handouts to the winos. Alright everyone if you could look to your left someone wrote 'Welcme to Crakvile' on the side of that building in orange spraypaint. On that streetcorner to your right we find two middle-aged prostitutes who seem.....
  • Go see it! (Score:4, Informative)

    by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <snarks@gmail.com> on Thursday January 17, 2002 @06:28AM (#2853540) Homepage Journal
    It's totally breathtaking. It's just the most awesome theme park I've ever been to. The story does exaggerate slightly, it makes it seem like they are working ecosystems, but in fact they are just big greenhouses. Really big greenhouses, wrapped in the world's largest sheets of bubble-wrap. Hands off, no popping it!
  • by Chocky2 ( 99588 ) <c@llum.org> on Thursday January 17, 2002 @06:29AM (#2853542)
    One of the most impressive things about the Eden Project is the simple proximity of such diverse environments to one another - you can walk from a sub-tropical jungle to a european woodland; the similarities and differences between the environments are highlighted, though the flora/fauna imbalance is noticeable.
  • Eden Project is Cool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gagravarr ( 148765 )

    I think the only downside on the eden project is its location - Cornwall. You're looking at a good 3-4 hours from London to get there. That said, if you're in London, you can always make a weekend of it, see the Eden project one day, say Dartmoor the other.

    One of the very cool things about it was that its built in an old mine. They started off with this slightly polluted hole in the ground, created their own soil on site from the mineing slag. Now if only we could be doing similar regenerative projects for all our mine sites...

  • biosphere problems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @06:30AM (#2853544) Homepage
    They made a good try at it, and if they ever activate this eden project it would be nice to see if their's works. But biosphere was doomed from the start and many many scientists were saying so from the beginning. They were lacking a correct sized human waste processing system, the amount of fauna was way too low, and trying to create ALL ecosuystems was plain stupid. Pick a easy to care for system and use that. using all high growth rate plants and high nutn plants is the best route plus you need to take account for the fact that plants will consume Oxygen in the night phase.

    Even when Biosphere was being built it didnt seem that they were even trying to build it right and that it was more of a publicity stunt instead of a real research project.
    • " They made a good try at it, and if they ever activate this eden project it would be nice to see if their's works."

      I don't think you entirely understand, the eden project is a tourist attraction which is open now, people are visiting it and it is very popular. It is not designed to be a biosphere other than it is re-creating different environments from it's surroundings.

      The idea is to introduce people to tropical and exotic plants which they might never see.. and to do so in the environmental conditions you would experience if you went to see them in the wild.

      This isn't a closed system which is attempting to provide a demonstation of a viable enclosed habitat for the moon or other "hostile" environment. It really is a large green house in which each section is tailored to a different environment, with different soil, moisture, temperature etc.

      It has been suggested the the construction techniques could be used to construct a biosphere type enclosure in space because of it's light weight construction techniques, which would make the materials easier to transport, but that was not it's primary intention.

      • "It has been suggested the the construction techniques could be used to construct a biosphere type enclosure in space because of it's light weight construction techniques, "

        Light weight is nice, but secondary. The primary function of any has to be to remain sealed at 14.7 Psi internal pressure. If it can't do that, then any suggestion to use it is laughable. Basically, there is no air in space, and any space traveller will need about 1 atmosphere of pressure to survive. Next it will have to shield them from radiation and thermally insulate them (the temperature extremes on somewhere like the moon are insane because it doesn't have an atmosphere to even them out). Light weight is a distant third on concerns (although cost of construction is a barrier, and weight effects that, doing it safely is far more important).

        BlackGriffen
    • What do you mean activate it? Its already there and open to the public.

      Steve.
    • I thought the biggest problem with Biosphere was Pauly Shore.
    • Even when Biosphere was being built it didnt seem that they were even trying to build it right and that it was more of a publicity stunt instead of a real research project.
      The Biosphere 2 Center was most certainly not a failure nor a publicity stunt. True, the experiment with eight people living inside it for two years was not a complete success, but many things were learns, such as ways to avoid future problems with such an experiment. Many great inventors have had multiple failures before the final success, and a lot was learned from the project.

      Anyway, a few years ago the Biosphere 2 Center was turned over to Columbia University (see here [go.com]), and now it is Columbia's western campus. It is building new housing facilities and is also a serious research facility, conducting several experiments behind the glass, such as one indicating that coral reefs are gravely threatened by carbon dioxide emissions (see here [bio2.edu]).

      It also has now more than a dozen university partnerships, and Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson (from the Clinton administration) signed an agreement there to establish "a framework for developing Columbia University's Biosphere 2 Center as a national user facility for earth system science, engineering and education" (see here [bio2.edu]).

      If you ask me, the Eden Project sounds more like a tourist attraction than a serious research facility (although this sometimes goes hand in hand, as public interest can help the financial situation). I mean, does this [edenproject.com] look like much of a scientific endeavor to you?
  • The cushions are made out of layers of a special plastic foil, called ETFE (ethyltetrafluoroethylene), which is particularly ideal for the biomes because it lets through most of the sunlight that hits it.

    What those Brit's won't do to escape the cold clammy European weather!

    Newt-dog

  • "sealed" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mirko ( 198274 ) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @06:36AM (#2853551) Journal
    Does that mean the environment was closed after an initial air-supply in order to let its contents re-generate its required oxygen itself ?
    If this were the case this would be quite exciting as by just carrying this "life-bubble" on other world we could settle there with the minimum needed.
    • Yes, that was the original biosphere 2 plan.

      BTW biosphere 2 is not dead. It's now run by Columbia which makes use of it to conduct a wide variety of ecological and biological experiments. All the systems which were designed to mimic various existing ecosystems can be made to vary parameters like temperature, humidity, atmospheric chemistry, etc in a very controlled way and on a relatively large scale.

      So it's become quite a useful lab despite having been a failure for its original purpose.
  • First of all, admission to Biosphere is slightly less than Eden, at $12.50 US vs. 9 pounds sterling. Either should definitely be self-sustaining at that rate.

    Perhaps more interesting, it seems the experimental parameters are somewhat different in the case of Eden. I figure they must already be using external air to support all of the visitors. Bioshere attempted to pull it off with an initial air supply which was hoped to be rinsed by the plants. If I recall, they had to open a crack in the window after everyone started getting very sleepy from the CO2.

    • Perhaps more interesting, it seems the experimental parameters are somewhat different in the case of Eden. I figure they must already be using external air to support all of the visitors.

      The story summary is misleading on this matter. The Eden Project is not a sealed environment like Biosphere, but rather a big greenhouse (as a previous poster wrote).

      Still impressive, though.

    • Bioshere attempted to pull it off with an initial air supply which was hoped to be rinsed by the plants.

      Biosphere was a bit of a joke for another reason involving air: as they began to seal it up they only then realized that thermal expansion of the air would blow the structure apart, so they installed a huge bladder that would expand and contract with the air!

    • In fact, the problem with the sealed atmosphere at Biosphere 2 turned out to be oxygen adsorption by all that reinforced concrete. High CO and CO2 levels were artifacts of DEPLETED O2.

      There's a message about data interpretation in that for all you global warming and greenhouse gas fanatics.
  • by NoNeeeed ( 157503 ) <slashNO@SPAMpaulleader.co.uk> on Thursday January 17, 2002 @06:56AM (#2853576)
    "We've gone back to basics with the educational. We've avoided multimedia for now. It's a strange sort of thing ... people talk about interactive learning, but it's actually very passive," says Kendle.

    I like this man already. There has always been so much hype about using computer based multimedia in education and museums, and most of it is rubbish. People just stand there looking at computer screens.

    Yes, you might be able to get lots of information but it gets pretty boring very quickly. There is nothing like the hands on displays at places like the science museum in london. Even just moving between displays is more interesting than staring at yet another screen.

    Another good example of an educational museum is the Norskbremusset (Norwegen Glacier Museum) at Fjaerland Norway. Lots of hands on stuff. If you ever go to that part of Norway it is worth a look.

    Paul
  • by Maddog Batty ( 112434 ) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @07:18AM (#2853606) Homepage
    I live about 30mins from the Eden Project so I can truely say that is has been a very impressive project in both its construction and its finished state. The biomes are gigantic, the pictures really don't give you a feeling of exactly how big they are. The technology is great as well. The glass is in fact a couple of layers of plastic blown up with gas. On UK TV, they recently balanced a car on one of the cells to show its strength even though the plastic itself is rather thin. Its claimed that the structure weighs less then the air it contains though I do find this hard to believe.

    However, the comparison with biosphere 2 is rather strange as the two projects are very different. The Eden Project is basically a big green house. It has never been sealed and has never had that intention. It has value as an educational tool and there are some science studies going on but this is minor. Beyond its construction (which is bleeding edge), I found the biosphere 2 project far more interesting.

    With the biosphere 2 project, the entire environment had be controlled. As they found, this is very difficult to achieve and needs to be sorted before any attempts for Moon or Mars bases can start. It should be interesting to see what the next attempt at a sealed environment achieves.

    A few links from the BBC [bbc.co.uk] and from Google [google.com] for the Eden Project.

    • Its claimed that the structure weighs less then the air it contains though I do find this hard to believe.

      The architect of the millenium dome told me the same thing about the millenium dome, so I don't see why it couldn't be true. Plus, all the air in the biodomes is warm, so weighs less than "normal" air too.
      • Calculations (Score:2, Interesting)

        Weight of steel = 667 tons [howstuffworks.com] = 677 tonnes

        There are 536 tonnes [edenproject.co.uk] of air in both the Biomes
        volume inside HT Biome; 330,110m3
        volume inside WT Biome; 85,620m3

        Density of air = 1.225 Kg/m3 [windpower.dk] (at 15 deg C) - though this gives a mass of 509 tonnes.

        Either way the air does not quite weigh as much as the steel but its close.

        The Millennium Dome is a suspension type construction which is generally very light so I would guess that the air inside it weighs a lot less than the structure.

    • Most likly the air inside the is compressed. Think about a tank of gas, the tank itself weights very little, but it is very heavy with the gas in it. Thats probably what he means, that the gas inside the bubbles weights more than the plastic of the bubbles.
  • Very close to me! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pete (big-pete) ( 253496 ) <peter_endean@hotmail.com> on Thursday January 17, 2002 @07:29AM (#2853620)

    Ahh, the Eden project is about 1 mile from where I grew up in Cornwall, and where my parents still live. It is an awesome project for the millennium and it was great to see it being built. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to go back there since it was completed.

    One great thing about the project, is the interest and tourism that it's bringing to the local area - Cornwall has always been a beautiful place for people to visit, but now there's another reason to go as well.

    This is an excellent use of one of the open-cast pits left over from the china clay mines that are scattered around that region of Cornwall, taking what was an eyesore and turning it into a thing of beauty. The Eden project is everything the Dome should have been in London.

    If ever you're in the area, make a special effort to go and visit the project - it's really something special that you can't see anywhere else - not really anything like the Biosphere2 project - they're entirely different things, with entirely different objectives, on entirely different continents!

    -- Pete.

  • First-Hand View (Score:5, Informative)

    by BSDevil ( 301159 ) on Thursday January 17, 2002 @07:30AM (#2853627) Journal
    I went down to Cornwall in September and spent a day at the Eden Project - let me tell you, it's one hell of a place and a hell of a design. It's essentially two big domes in the bottom of an old Quarray with the walls made out of adjustable air pockets made of clear plastic. It's also not what you'd really call 'sealed' in the sense of Biosphere2 - if you look up to the top of the domes, there are some huge heating and cooling systems in there, and a fairly advanced system of windows that open and shut depending on conditions and (I assume) visitors.

    As for the biospheres themselves, one is a Tropical biome, and the other was Mediteranien (I think that's what they called it); the Tropical one is the big dome on the left, and the Med is the smaller one on the right. Of the two, the tropical one is better (as of now). It takes about half an hour to walk through the thing, and (especially the higher up you go in the dome) it gets bloody hot and humid in there. I went on a September day where I was wearing pants and a fleece outside, and within about ten minutes of beingin the Tropical dome I had ditched the fleece and rolled my pants into shorts. Its got all sorts of funky plants in there (including baby pineapples growing, bananas, and these odd frying-pan water lillies), a big waterfall that runs into a stream, to both add make it look pretty and keep the humidity up. What was really nice was that they didn't chintz the place up like many museums do - there were a few things like that, but for the most part they let the plants speak for themselves, and the small signs explain them - you can see a manilla plant that the paper for manila envelopes comes from.

    The Med biome, on the other hand, kinda sucks. It's not really hot enoungh in there, and as Med climate plants don't grow as fast as Tropical ones, it seems a bit sparse in places - but they do a very nice job of decorating that half of the place.

    The thing that needs to be remembered about the Eden Project is that the thing is really new. It's been open for about eight-to-ten months, and needs more time to grow. All the trees planted outside arn't ready, and the biomes need more time to grow and flourish. And they need to get anew supplier of Ice Cream in the Cafe. Having said that, Eden was a very pleasant weekend out. The train was like four hours or so from London, so you could do it in a day if you're hardcore. I personally went down for the weekend, doing Eden on one day and the Lost Gardens of Heligan (another gardening project) the other day. The place is cool now, and will be amazing in a few years. And it looks bloody cool when you arrive by car, coming around the corner and you just see these domes down there - and you just know it's gonna be in a James Bond movie sometime :P I highly recomend the place if you're in London and have time to get down to Cornwall.

    • but for the most part they let the plants speak for themselves

      Man! That's something I have see, as long as they're not the type of plants from Tarzan that say

      "yummmmmmm... yuuuuuuuummmm.... man fleshhhh.....", and then drag you off into the bushes to the sound of slurping and screaming.

      Do they have tenticles? Do you have to go around with guards wielding flamesthrowers and herbicide grenades?

      Sounds COOL! ;-)
  • Released in Novemember. I got it for Christmas but haven't had time to read it.

    Got lots of pictures, but plenty of text too.

    Eden by Tim Smit on Amazon UK [amazon.co.uk]
  • The wouldn't call it 'Eden' if they read This Other Eden [amazon.co.uk] by Ben Elton.

    In that story, playing around 2080, a Bill-Gates
    alike power-hungry super rich advertising genius
    manages to sell comfortable family sized 'bio-domes' to half the world's population
    to survive the upcoming ecological disaster that will make the earth unable to sustain life.
  • I wonder what the viability of this kind of technology would be for recreating certain desirable regions of the world. Take, for example, prime grape growing regions in France, California, etc that produce award winning wines. Why couldn't a company design an enclosure that reproduces those conditions in, say, Nebraska where land is cheap and produce comparable crops? Would the cost of construction and continued environmental regulation outweigh any benefits?
    • Why couldn't a company design an enclosure that reproduces those conditions in, say, Nebraska where land is cheap and produce comparable crops?

      Because nobody would pay $20 for a bottle of wine made in Nebraska, no matter how much it tasted like expensive French wine.

  • Domed Cities (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 )
    Given the generic rise in Air pollution (though this is being address to some degree), I wonder how much of this is going to be practical or applicable to the science fiction vision of domed cities.

    The classical domed city is entirely self contained. But a domed city where it wasn't sealed tight could maintain a better environment inside while not having nearly so many of the hassles. Abundant plants to keep the air clean in the dome, etc.

  • Milwaukee has had its 'Domes' for many years.

    There are three linked domes each containing a different ecosystem and open to the public for touring.

    It is called the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, and they began construction in 1959.

    Link [countyparks.com]
    • Not much different in concept to the giant conservatories/hot houses that have been in the gardens of rich brits (& probably others) for hundreds of years for orchids & tropical plants. Kew Gardens having some of the best remaining ones. The main difference is in scope & scale. Very cool tech, lots of potential, and having visited recently can safely say a top place to visit D
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Montreal have been having one of those for many year now, and I am sure a couple of other city have one too...
  • The real problem with the biodome projects is that they let guys like Pauly Shore in. That guy was no scientist!
  • I'm an Architecture Student at Bath [bath.ac.uk], UK, and our civil engineering department is pretty well renowned so we had a lecture from the engineers of the Eden Project. Fascinating stuff. A few of the interesting things that they did:

    A satellite survey of the site allowed them to make a 3D model of the clay pit, they could then reshape the landscape without having to bring fill to/from the site. They had special software that calculated volume of soil, so they just spread the existing material around.

    GPS surveying. The base of each bubble comes down on to a concrete foundation. First, using the same 3D model, the intersection of bubble and ground is plotted, then on site a man with a gps reciever plots the centerline of the foundation all over the very irregular ground. The fact that the bubbles are based on spheres meant that as the ground conditions changed (the mine was still being worked during the design phase) only the edge of the bubbles had to be redesigned to adapt to the site.

    The frame for the bubbles is based on the familiar "buckyball" arrangement like C-60 or a soccer (bleh) ball, only the pentagons are very small, and are surrounded by a large grid of hexagons. There is a fair amount of repition in the design (each fith of each dome is essentially symmetrical, the pentagon at the apex of each dome is openable for venting), but there are so many different pieces involved that humans could never make the pieces right. Instead, data from the 3d model was sent to the steelworkers, where a machine simply churned out thousands of individually numbered struts and nodes. These were then assembled in order on site.

    The World's Largest Scaffolding was created inside each dome during construction. We saw some slides of this and it really was amazing. Imagine the shape of one of these domes, but filled with a regular 3D grid.

    The ETFE foil that the envelope is made of is ridiculously thin. I forget the exact number, but it's measured in microns. There are three layers, giving two pockets in each segment. These can be inflated/deflated to take the weight of snow for instance. The largest segment is about 6 meters accross IIRC.

    All the climate control is automatic. Vents open and close, humidifiers spray and heaters heat all day and night to keep the climate regular inside.

    I went to visit Eden in November, and it was absolutely amazing. I won't repeat what's been said, but you should definately include it in your plans if you're coming to the UK. The education is so well done and so genuine that you can't help but learn. There's absolutely no cooporate sponsership or advertising on site. All the food is organic and all the staff have a genuine passion for plants. The only trouble is that it is too popular. There were no queues as such, but it was definately crowded. Brilliant day out though.
    • I would just like to comment upon the survey aspects. Cut and fill levelling with computer optimisation has been done for a very long time now, you always want to minimise the material brought into or removed from a site because it is expensive.

      My father was doing this kind of stuff in the seventies. He used a program on an IBM 370.

      The use of GPS is no great shakes either. It is arguable whether it is even that helpful because GPS 3D isn't wonderfully accurate unless you are prepared to wait. You start with one fixed point where you use GPS (and wait for the errors to average out) or use a benchmark or even a trig point (there are lots of these surveyed 'fixed points' in the UK) and do everything else with a conventional optical instrument with laser tangefinding (geodimeter), aagin something that hasd been possible for a very long time.

      The main benefit of newer technology is that the instrument contains a datalogger so the information can be fed directly into the digital ground model. Total stations, as they are called have been around since the early eighties.

      The construction used isn't that new either, see any number of radomes such as the old Fylingsdale ones.

      The materials were new and the application, well, it sure beats the Kew Gardens conservatories for size! That is where the innovation is.

  • Eden Project, a similar scheme (e.g. closed environments mimicking various climate conditions around the world)

    This is wrong. The Eden project is great, but it's not a closed system (it's not trying to be). The domes have heating, irrigation, etc.

    They're just large, interestingly-built greenhouses. They've also been around for a couple of years - this story is quite out of date.

    Worth a visit though, if you're in Devon or Cornwall. The project gets very busy though, avoid bank holiday w/ends at all costs.

    andy.

  • Judging by the Eden www site, its installation looks bigger than the one in Montreal, but still, here's a link to the Montreal Biodome's website [montreal.qc.ca].
  • I saw a one-man play on Buckminster Fuller (the designer of the geodesic dome among other things) and they had some interesting information on some of his ideas. One of the ones I found most interesting related to putting Manhattan under one large dome. He calculated that the costs of doing this would be outweighed by just the snow removal costs saved! I am a bit skeptical, but it is an interesting point anyway.

    • How much would it cost to remove snow from the dome itself? I can't imagine they'd want to leave it up there--it would get pretty dark below. Also, with all the cars in Manhattan, they would need to have a constant wind blowing in clean air from the outside. This would probably minimize any benefits, like protecting pedestrians from winter cold, etc. I guess no one would need umbrellas.... Still, it seems like a dome would work better in a place that has no snow.
  • If you really wanted to create a biosphere:

    - Put the dome under water, to insure a good seal.

    - Have an elevator shaft to the surface that you can seal easily, and introduce new "contestants.

    - Have escape hatches in case elevator problems.

    - Give a few million dollars to the person who can stand living isolated with plants longest.

    - Put it on TV so it is self-funding of course.
  • I can just imagine a sign on the tour: "Please Don't Feed the Humans."

  • i just read the FAQ at the Biosphere 2 Columbia website, and the only problem (for survivability) they mentioned was a reduction of oxygen due to wrong salad of microbes in the soil and also the concrete was absorbing CO2 from the microbes which kind of disguised the problem. otherwise the FAQ made it sound like the habitation experiments were a tremendous success!


    anyone know of any other reason why Biosphere 2 should be considered a failure? why not consider it a tremendous success?

    • You are correct in thinking that biosphere is not a failure. It is true that they were not able to completely realize their stated goals, but it has, and is providing a cornucopia of scientific knowledge! One of Biosphere 2's more recent experiments involves global warming. Scientists are finding out how increases in atmospheric CO2 levels can be offset by selected plant life.

      I think it is a tragedy that so many people (slash doters included) are comparing Eden's garden greenhouse to Biosphere 2's scientific experiments in prolonged space exploration, human psychology environmental science, and other disciples.

      A quote from Eden's web site, "Eden is not here to add more papers to unread scientific literature." This doesn't sound very scientific to me.

      Here is another, rather long, quote from Eden; it blew me away because it shows that not only are they not conducting scientific research but they are actually anti-science: "A root cause of environmental destruction is specialist training, in which all disciplines, and within them subdisciplines, are taught as separate, unrelated subjects. This is a fundamental reason why our mental models of reality so rarely correspond to the territory supposedly being mapped.... We are preoccupied with the intellectually fashionable rather than the real world.... We need to reward scientists for solving big, difficult problems not just simple, little problems which lead to elegant, esoteric journal articles."

      In effect what the above quote means is that Eden has used advanced technology created by countless scientists and has constructed a monument to the ideas that science is futile and bad for the environment.

      It's just a greenhouse with a political agenda. It's popular because it's big.

  • Ok, maybe not - but I got your attention, right?

    Anyhow, here is a couple of great sites for those of you interested in geodesic dome construction:

    Geodesics at the Monkey House [one.net]

    Geo Tech Systems, Inc. [gts-domes.com]

    Have fun!
  • (Speaking on the big ventilation system and the wind system it creates)"It was essential," said Tony Kendle, science director at the Eden Foundation. "Because visitors' hair would catch fire if the upper reaches of the dome weren't properly ventilated! The engineers designed a chimney effect and computer-modeled vents to create a wind stream, but there are places where it really whistles."

    I envision a TV program somewhere between "Survivor" and "Candid Camera" where they turn off the ventilation system and film the results.

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