Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Biosphere 2, Part 2

Continuing our tour of Biosphere 2, we get one last look at the rainforest above the ocean.

Here is evidence of the on-going experimentation taking place here. Barrels with plants — my guess is playing with different amounts of moisture to determine hardiness under drought conditions.

Over by the glass, I spotted a volunteer, a Cactus Wren (the Arizona State Bird) — probably not one of the species introduced for the two-year original experiment.

BTW, I shot this at 300 mm (the longest focal length on my zoom lens) and cropped it at approximately full resolution — meaning the original pixels in the capture correspond to the pixels on your monitor. Pretty amazing what cameras can do these days.

We are now in the desert area. Our tour guide told us that, although Biosphere 2 is located in the Sonoran Desert, they chose not to simulate the same habitat because they could not get the humidity down to the natural level. So they chose a coastal desert as the model — think San Diego.

Well this cactus looks familiar. I assumed it to be a saguaro cactus but our tour guide told us it was a different species, but the name escapes me. Sure looks like a saguaro.

We were now escorted behind the scenes to see the inner workings of Biosphere 2. I do not recall seeing this area when I took the tour fifteen years ago. These are storage tanks — fresh water, gray water, salt water, etc.

And where you have storage tanks and treatment equipment there must be pipes to move the liquids all around.

This tunnel made me think of a submarine — low ceiling, exposed pipes and conduit, plus smaller doors at each end (requiring care to not hit your head) which could be sealed.

Which then led us into the south lung. It does not function as an animal lung but is used to buffer the expansion and contraction of the air in the sealed Biosphere 2. As the sun heats the air under glass, it expands and could burst the glass panes without the lung. In a similar fashion, the nighttime cooling could implode the glass walls.

The overhead disk is a thick aluminum plate which provides a downward force on the...

...rubber bladder — the part that actually expands and contracts. The legs on the disk will come to rest on the concrete surface should the facility totally lose its seal. Interesting, the tour guide held the door open for the last stragglers (myself included) and you could actually see the disk lowering as air escaped the lung.

Back outside, we were greeted with these half-cylinder buildings which, we were told, control the power for the complex.

We paused at this point because the tour group ahead of us was in the next area for us visit. So we had a minute to look around on our own and for me to snap another nice shot of the glass walls over the ocean and desert areas we visited just a few minutes previously.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com