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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Biosphere 2

Mind totally blown today.

IMG_2004I missed a turn and ended up at the road to Biosphere 2. I asked the guy working on the sign what the deal was. He said it was just two miles off the 77, the tour started in 30 minutes, and it's well worth $20. I leaned on the bike, thought about it, checked my balance, and rode across the cattle guard to a date with science!

I'll post the best pictures here, but the flickr set tells the whole story properly. I like the slideshow option for sets like these.

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Waiting for the coffee shop to open before my tour, I checked out this nifty solar-powered, talking info box. The recording started out the same as the printed text, but had a surprise bonus paragraph at the end!

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A lot of headroom in the desert biome.

IMG_2033How many signs like this are there in the world? Also, pipes look cool in pictures.

IMG_2057During the first mission, the bionauts would regularly dive off the cliffs into the deep end of the ocean. Sometimes, they'd climb the scaffolding to jump.

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This is dreamlike: you leave a beach through a flimsy little door, climb a flight, and you're in a rainforest.

IMG_2061We had to hang out in a random airlock for ten minutes while they fixed a wiring problem that was setting off the fire alarm. Dudes were running around with radios, lights were flashing. A fun bonus, I thought.

IMG_2065The lung! An engineering marvel, it expands and contracts to keep air pressure constant as the sun heats the 'sphere during the day. Looks just like the center of the Death Star. I recorded Cat's rundown of the lung and some fun with echoes. You'll have to forgive my lazy sound editing--it's three clips sloppily glommed together.

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R. Buckminster Fuller
is all over the 'sphere's architecture. Check out Artsy's page on him for a bio, several of his works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date Fuller exhibition listings.

IMG_2100Oh, and just in case I was starting to feel like this place were normal, I saw some cows grazing by the roadside on my way out.

All in all, I'd have to say this is the coolest thing in the world. It's its own little world.

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