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Show #7/1507
Biosphere 2

Biosphere 2, Dr. Travis

Biosphere 2 sits on 40 acres of land, with about 3 acres under glass. As discussed previously it was used for space exploration and space research as well as closed system research. BUT NOW THEY'RE ADDRESSING PLANTS, ENERGY AND WATER. Dr. Travis Huxman is the University of Arizona's director of Biosphere 2. Travis tells us more. Biosphere 2 is an amazing facility. We now know some of it's original history. The building itself cost on the order of $250 million in the 1970's when built but today would cost upwards of $1 billion. Thus nothing like this will be built soon. They feel a real need to aim at big science grand challenges. What they've done is create a research program focused on the problem of water and how water interacts with energy and plant species to create different biomes that we see on the planet, out in the real world. By biomes he means all the different environments they must test and include for all these experiments. Several examples: They have a tropical forest where they control temperature and water in a certain way to allow those different species to grow and thrive. They have a desert where they do something entirely different and directed towards a different type of species. Concentrating on water is important. Whether in here or anywhere in the country or world water is a very scarce resource. The dynamics of water in the world is a scientific grand challenge, understanding where water goes is important. Whether in a natural landscape, thinking about a watershed in some river, whether in an agricultural setting or whether just in someone's back yard focusing on a garden; trying to understand which species might be best suited for those types of environments, all all important questions.

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