Biosphere 2

The first closed mission of the Biosphere 2 lasted from September 26, 1991 to September 26, 1993. The crew were: medical doctor and researcher Roy Walford, Jane Poynter, Taber MacCallum, Mark Nelson, Sally Silverstone, Abigail Alling, Mark Van Thillo and Linda Leigh. The agricultural system produced 83% of the total diet, which included a wide variety of crops including bananas, papayas, sweet potatoes, beets, peanuts, lablab and cowpea beans, rice, and wheat. No toxic chemicals could be used, since they would quickly impact health. During the first year the eight inhabitants experienced hunger as they adapted. During the second year, the crew produced over a ton more food, average caloric intake increased, and they regained some weight lost during the first year. They consumed the same low-calorie, nutrient-dense diet which Roy Walford had extensively studied in his research on extending lifespan through diet. Medical markers indicated the health of the crew during the two years was excellent. Strikingly, they showed the same improvement in health indices such as lowering of blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and enhancement of immune systems. They lost an average of 16% of their pre-entry body weight before stabilizing and regaining some weight during their second year. Subsequent studies showed that the biospherians’ metabolism became more efficient at extracting nutrients from their food as an adaptation to the low-calorie, high nutrient diet.

The Tigerpond


Deep in the heart of the Rain Forest lay Tiger Pond, with a waterfall plummeting down from the Cloud Forest on top of the mesa-like "mountain." This was one of few above-ground idyllic spots.

The Savannah

the savannah

Hercules cleaned the Augean Stables in one day but wouldn't have lasted two. He was a big husky overfed guy who would have died of heart disease if Zeus had not called him home in early middle age.

By contrast: fortified by their low calorie nutrient-dense diet, Biosphere 2's eight crew members performed the 80-hour work-week Herculean task of running a complete miniworld for two whole years. Visitors looking in through the glass thought the crew members were close to starving; but to them, Earth's outside inhabitants seemed bloated: "Look at all those puffy faces staring in at us", they cried!

The Technosphere

The Technosphere

In the bowels of Biosphere 2, under the green tangle of growth visible to tourist eyes, lay the complex "Technosphere" of air-handlers, cooling and heating systems, water tanks, CO2 and ocean water "scrubbers", a vast computer signaling system... and on and on. Like in the Eugene O'Neil play "The Hairy Ape" where the stoker from the hole of the ocean liner comes on deck to the astonishment of the beautiful rich lady who happens to be there, pours a bucket of ocean water over his sooty muscular body and exclaims, "I make 'er go!" Like that! That's how we felt, working the Technosphere.

Abigail Alling, Marine Biomes Manager

Abigal Alling

Sally Silverstone, Co-Captain, Food Systems Manager

Sally Silverstone

Mark Nelson, Communications Systems

Mark Nelson

Roy Walford, Medical Officer

Roy Walford

Linda Leigh, Terrestrial Biomes Manager

Linda Leigh

Mark Van Thillo, Co-Captain, Technical Systems Manager

Mark Van Thillo

Taber MacCallum, Analytical Systems Manager

Taber MacCallum