World Under Glass

biosphere 2

© Sascha Darlington

The history of Biosphere 2, supposedly the world’s first self-contained biosphere, was always surrounded by scandal. The first mission couldn’t scrub the CO2 out of the air and illicitly vented it. The second ended with a horrific battle in upper-management. Biosphere 2 entered the 21st century under the guidance of Columbia University, using it for climate change research. The project had been sold to new owners, owners with the correct vision, ethics, and science. Now they declared that after five years of exquisitely correct execution, they had created permanently self-sustaining environments.

Tourism at the Oracle, Arizona site was booming as the Luna and Ares domes were being prepared to be removed and taken by wide-load flatbeds to the Virgin Galactic launch site near Mammoth. Then they were to be mounted on massive Helena V rocket boosters. The Moon’s first colony dome will arrive within days, with its human and animal population arriving the following year. The Mars colony dome will become fully operational five years later.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Biosphere 2 project, and was disappointed by the continued failures and scandals that followed it in the 1990s. It looks like the technology has improved drastically since then, but I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to create a 100% self-contained sustainable artificial biosphere. If we could and if that environment could produce everything it needed to support a population with no external inputs for an indefinite future, then colonizing the Moon and Mars would only be the beginning of a new era of human space exploration.

I wrote this story for the Sunday Photo Fiction – February 12th 2017 challenge. The goal is to use the photo prompt above to create a flash fiction story of no more than 200 words. Mine comes in at a mere 166.

To read more stories based on this prompt, go to InLinkz.com.