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Biosphere 2 can tell us how to deal with increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

Posted by: Magnus Penker

Campaign: What preparations should we make now if a much warmer world is inevitable?

New York Times March 29, 2019, we can read that 1994, Abigail Alling and Mark Van Thillo slipped across the foothills of Arizona’s Santa Catalina Mountains. They made their way to a looming monument of geodesic domes and pyramids known as Biosphere 2. Ms. Alling and Mr. Van Thillo had recently emerged from a two-year stay in Biosphere 2. Later, after they were arrested, they told reporters that they feared for the safety of the people inside (due to carbon dioxide). They pulled open five of Biosphere 2’s doors and broke their seals. As outdoor air rushed in, they made their way to the ventilation system, where they smashed some glass panels. That break-in effectively marked the end of one of the strangest experiments in the history of science. No one had ever built a sealed ecological world as big as Biosphere 2, and no one had ever survived so long inside one. The project would later be dismissed as a folly and a waste of effort. And yet, 25 years on, it’s an experiment worth rediscovering. Biosphere 2 might have some lessons to offer about managing Biosphere 1 — our planet. In the 25 years since the Biosphere 2 experiment ended, our species has profoundly altered Biosphere 1. In 1994, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 358 parts per million. Now it’s over 410 — a level not seen for at least the last three million years. Scientists understand some of the effects of such a jolt. The planet is getting hotter, for one thing. But carbon dioxide can have many other effects, such as making the ocean more acidic, and there could be more changes coming that we can’t begin to comprehend. Perhaps, in the records of an extravagant experiment in Arizona, there are clues waiting for us to find. Read the article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/sunday-review/biosphere-2-climate-change.html


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Johan Persson

This is a kind of experiment that will possibly be useful for when we go interplanetary species. Any settlement on Mars a la Elon Musk, must work in some similar fashion to the biosphere. So even if not fixing the planet it might set us up for the exit option.

Magnus Penker

Lets find more \"crazy\" projects with data recods and let creat an open register like Sashas market place. And add analytic functions. Mayby also letting people linking own experiments with Rasberry Pi or Arduion collecting data from millions of sensors feeding it in.

Sasha Viasasha

We need more experiments like this with the results open to more people. Create a data marketplace where the results from different systems can be analyzed to find patterns. We can test introducing new species or elements in a controlled fashion. Maybe we can create a whole new ecosystem engineered for a warmer world.

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