More than two decades ago, eight people entered a sealed, self-sustaining glass enclosure near Oracle called Biosphere 2. For two years, the Biospherians, as they were called, lived almost exclusively off the complex’s various biomes — mini-ecosystems like savanna, rain forest and wetlands — that represented various Earth climates.

Only energy and information were to be exchanged with the outside world. That included sunlight, electricity and communications with a support staff. Food was grown on site. Oxygen and carbon dioxide were regulated through photosynthesis. The goal: Show that future space colonists could survive and thrive in similar environments on deep space missions or planetary colonies.

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