Monday, March 7, 2011

Final Biosphere Pics

Some futuristic outbuildings.  They sure liked those barrel vaults.

I liked the lighting on this geodesic dome "lung."  We took the tour that started shortly after noon, which was evidently the busiest time of day.  If we had it to do over we would have taken a later tour, with a far smaller crowd.

I'm halfway through my third Biosphere book.  It's like reading about ancient Sumeria, things have devolved so much since then.  While the educated minority were busy fulfilling themselves and doing groovy things like building Biospheres, the plutocrats were busy organizing the churches, consolidating the media, and dumbing down the educational system.  Which side had the deeper grasp of American culture and Western Civilization in general?  Maybe I'll have a couple more paragraphs to say about this after I've read all four books.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More Biosphere 2

Exterior of the agriculture biome.  This was supposedly the most productive 1/2 acre on the planet, but the biospherians still went hungry most of the time.  They built planters, filled them with dirt, and placed them wherever there was an extra bit of sunlight.  This added about 1000 square feet to their agricultural capacity.  It turns out that they would have received adequate calories if there had been only 7 biospherians instead of 8.

Outside view of the rainforest biome.  That's a lot of glass!

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Biospheric Ocean

The ocean is one of the five biomes within Biosphere 2.  The others are:  rainforest, savannah, desert, and marsh.  This view down onto the ocean shows a rowboat pulled onto the beach.

The ocean is a million gallons of saltwater, complete with fish and coral reef.  The beach in the foreground was a favorite picnic spot for the Biospherians.  The marsh is in the background.

The rainforest is at the top of the cliff.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In the Cloud Forest

One of my favorite areas of Biosphere 2 was the cloud forest.  Here, Laura disappears into the mist.

A jungle scene.

Palm tree.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Biosphere 2 -- Part 1

The main reason Laura and I went to Tucson was to tour Biosphere 2.  We weren't disappointed. 

The most iconic part of Biosphere 2 is the huge greenhouse housing the rainforest.  After 20 years, the trees have nearly reached the top.  (What is Biosphere 1, one might ask?  The Earth itself.)

The dome on the right houses a "lung" -- a rubber membrane that expands and contracts to maintain a constant air pressure as the greenhouses heat up and cool off as the day progresses.  In the middle are the crew quarters.

An experimental solar panel array, testing different ground covers used when placing the panels directly on the ground.  I have mixed feelings about sacrificing a hillside like this.

I'll be posting more Biosphere pics when I have time.

One observation:  Biosphere 2 emerged from its 1991-93 mission with a bad reputation.  The most common themes are "a failed experiment," and "bad science."  But we need to remember that this negativity was created by the corporate media, which as we all know is as corrupt as any other national institution.  Members of the corporate media, especially at the national level, tend to be shallow, snide, and self-important.  We don't need to take their opinions seriously. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

San Xavier del Bac

Here's a typical tourist picture of the San Xavier del Bac Mission, probably the top tourist destination in Tucson.  The mission was founded in 1699, and the present church was started in 1783.

I have always had a connection with Tucson, going back to my five months in 1971-2 when I worked for the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona.  I hadn't been back to Tucson for a number of years and had never shown San Xavier to Laura, so this winter seemed like a good time to return briefy to "The Old Pueblo" as Tucson is sometimes called. 

The altar, and in fact the entire interior, is very ornate. 

Candles in an adjacent shrine room made a nice pattern picture.

Santos in the shrine room.