Okay. I know that the Biosphere 2 project was sketchy science and the brainchild of someone who has been described as the leader of a fringe cult.

But none of that really matters to me. I miss the idea that someone, ANYONE, would spend $150 Million to build a test bed for the human settlement of space. It was a bold stroke that suggested that private citizens might be able to take on the challenge of opening space to colonization--something the government has been unable and unwilling to consider.

Sure, I wish Biosphere 2 was done with more scientific rigor and transparency. I wish it managed expectations of the media and the public more effectively. And I wish the planners had not bet everything on an all-or-nothing gamble on an untested 2-year mission. 

But, I don't care. I still think Biosphere 2 was a great idea. 

So, let me say it. Thank you Ed Bass and John Allen and the whole Biosphere 2 crew: Roy WalfordJane PoynterTaber MacCallum, Mark Nelson, Sally Silverstone, Abigail Alling, Mark Van Thillo and Linda Leigh. You took a stab at something great. You engaged in an unprecedented experiment that yielded useful data. You left behind a world class research facility. Any space settlement research effort in the future will want to study and learn from what you have done. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Though some think Bass and Allen eccentric, they were right about one thing. They understood that if we are ever going to build a self-sustaining large scale human habitat in space we needed to  build one here on Earth first. Anyone excited about human settlement of space has to feel some nostalgia for what Biosphere 2 aspired to achieve

And, yes, I'm glad the Biosphere 2 facilities are in the responsible hands of the University of Arizona, and that they are being used to advance extremely valuable Earth science research. 

But, still, I miss its bolder extraterrestrial purpose. 



 


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Biosphere 2 is an Earth systems science research facility located in Oracle, Arizona. It has been owned by the University of Arizona since 2011. Its mission is to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching, and lifelong learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe. It is a 3.14-acre (1.27-hectare)[1] structure originally built to be an artificial, materially closed ecological system, or vivarium. It remains the largest closed system ever created.

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