Updated: Jan 27
Today, Sunday January 22 we attended Christian worship services at Casas Church. We were warmly welcomed and encouraged to relax, be yourself and freely connect with God in a meaningful way. We felt right at home and certainly had a heart full of gratitude and thanksgiving. We heard about the church from Scott and Holly the day before and got to say hello to them when we attended.
After church we journeyed out to a very interesting venue just north east of Tucson: Biosphere 2. Here are some facts about the origin of the Biosphere project:
• In the 1800s, the Biosphere 2 property was part of the Samaniego CDO Ranch. After several changes of ownership, it became a conference center in the 1960s and 1970s, first for Motorola, then for The University of Arizona. Space Biospheres Ventures bought the property in 1984 and began construction of the current facility in 1986 to research and develop self-sustaining space-colonization technology.
• Two missions, between 1991 and 1994, sealed Biospherians inside the glass enclosure to measure survivability. Behind this highly public exercise was useful research that helped further ecological understanding. Several first-person accounts have been published by former crew members that provide different perspectives on the experiment.
• In 1994, Decisions Investments Corporation assumed control of the property and Columbia University managed it from 1996-2003 and reconfigured the structure for a different mode of scientific research, including a study on the effects of carbon dioxide on plants. Columbia also built classrooms and housing for college students of earth systems science.
• The property was sold June 4, 2007, to CDO Ranching and its development partners who then leased the property to UArizona from 2007-2011. The enclosure now serves as a tool to support research already underway by UArizona scientists. As a laboratory for large-scale projects, such as the Landscape Evolution Observatory, the university's stewardship of Biosphere 2 will allow the UArizona to perform key experiments aimed at quantifying some of the consequences of global climate change.
A self-guided tour cost $23 each (with the senior discount!) and was well worth the money and time. If you're ever in the Tucson area we strongly recommend you take the time to see and experience this facility.