Sunday 22nd February 2015

The Science really starts today…

Today we will be visiting Biosphere2.

The name derives from the idea that it is modelled on Earth, the first biosphere.  Here is some information from their website.

It is a department of the University of Arizona and it’s mission is:Photograph by John de Dios

To serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching and life-long learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe.

  • Catalyze interdisciplinary thinking and understanding about Earth and its future;
  • Be an adaptive tool for Earth education and outreach to industry, government, and the public;
  • Distill issues related to Earth systems planning and management for use by policymakers, students and the public.

Some fast facts:

  • 3.14 acre Biosphere facility
  • 7,200,000 cubic feet of sealed glass, 6,500 windows
  • 91 feet at highest point
  • sealed from the earth below by a 500-ton welded stainless steel liner
  • 40-acre campus
  • 300,000 sq. ft. of administrative offices, classrooms, labs, conference center, housing

It looks like the set from a SciFi film and contains the following ecosystems under glass

  • Ocean with coral reef
  • Mangrove wetlands
  • Tropical rainforest
  • Savannah grassland
  • Fog desert

History

Two missions, between 1991 and 1994, sealed Biospherians inside the glass enclosure to measure survivability. Behind this highly public exercise was useful research that helped further ecological understanding. Several first-person accounts have been published by former crew members that provide different perspectives on the experiment.

 

Here’s a link to a guide put together by Will Youd last year.  It should be fascinating.

In the evening we may visit Mt Lemmon SkyCenter

Take a look at the website – the pictures are just wonderful.  On Skynights the public (us!) get a chance to look through a 32inch scope.  The largest I’ve ever looked through was 24 inch and that was amazing so 32 inches could be mind blowing.  The website states that Adam Block is the Manager and Primary Speaker at the Centre.  Adam is one of the world’s premier astroimagers, so it would be an incredible experience to be able to listen to him/talk to him.  I wonder if it will be possible…. The shop sells his processing tutorials, so I will need to take my credit card.

Here’s a link to my blog for the day to see how the plan turned into reality…..