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For sale: Biosphere 2

Ed Bass is letting go of some property you might have heard of.

The company that owns Biosphere 2 Center, 3.1 glass-enclosed acres designed to simulate the Earth’s environment, has put the site up for sale.

The company is also selling 70 other buildings on the center’s 140-acre campus 16 miles north of Tucson, said Christopher Bannon, general manager of Decisions Investment Corp. of Fort Worth, Texas.

“We’d love to see the Biosphere 2 used as a research activity, but we know that may not be the end result,” he said last week.

Texas billionaire Ed Bass, president of Decisions Investment, spent more than $200 million to build Biosphere 2 in the 1980s as a prototype for a space colony.

The closed ecological site 16 miles north of Tucson contained miniatures of Earth’s rainforest, ocean, desert and other environmental features.

In 1991, eight “biospherians” were sealed inside for a two-year stay. But the project was plagued by rising costs and other setbacks and Columbia University assumed responsibility for the site under a management agreement, turning it into a research and education facility.

The relationship with Columbia ended in September 2003 and Biosphere 2 has been open as a tourist destination.

I took the tour of Biosphere 2 a decade or so ago while in Tucson for a wedding. Back then, you could only see it from the outside, so it wasn’t the most memorable experience I’ve ever had. According to this Slashdot thread, which includes commentary from someone who worked at B2 for awhile, you can now tour it from the inside. Alas, tourism wasn’t enough to keep it financially viable. No clue what a prospective buyer might do with it, but the suggestion of a reality TV show has some merit.

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  1. HWRNMNBSOL says:

    Clearly this needs to be bought up and used as a quasi-utopic commune by bloggers. It would be called, of course, the Blogosphere.

    True to form, it would involve people digging through, reconstituting and recycling each others’ fecal matter, and then acting all proud about it.

  2. Buhallin says:

    Did you really just use “reality TV show” and “merit” in the same sentence?

    Shame on you!

  3. Cathy (Prophit) Demers says:

    Does complete details of the scientific study comes with purchase of the property? Everything I read about the biosphere was so superficial. I really wanted to know results, such as oxygen levels generated as well as other atmospheric details. There are so many potentially interesting facts that probably could be explored. Were there compensations made for defects found? So on and so forth!