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Science and Culture - Essay Example

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This paper reviews the probability of coming up with a biosphere in the near future which can sustain life on another planet and work autonomously. In an experiment which was dubbed “Biosphere 2”, a group of eight persons, consisting of four women and four men, were used to establish whether or not people can live and maintain themselves using air, water and food while living in a controlled and enclosed environment. The group was held in the diminutive biosphere complete with permanent living stations and a provision for waste products. Essentially, the key focus of this experiment was to ascertain if people could actually live on Mars and whether Mars was able to support and maintain life without outside interference. However, the experiment was a colossal flop and was considered so by both common folk and scientists. Speculation about the reasons behind the failure were rife with some scientists quizzing whether the biosphere could be successful on earth, considering earth is also a biosphere with a distinct planetary environment from that of Mars. While the experiment was considered a complete failure, people have gained vital knowledge from it, which has subsequently enhanced knowledge on how to create a better and superior biosphere in future. The biosphere 2 experiment serves as a benchmark for gauging what should or should not be done when establishing a biosphere. One of the most notable disparities that led to the experiment’s failure is the fact that the biosphere 2 building encompassed a vast array of solar glazing on its outer surface. Use of this outer surface material was vital to deter the chance of overheating as the experiment was conducted in an arid area (Oracle, Arizona). The structure, which was shaped like a greenhouse, stood on a 3.14 acre land and contained, among others, a mangrove wetland, tropical rain forest, fog desert, an ocean, complete with coral reef and savannah grassland (University of Arizona, 2010). The intensity of the biomes and ecosystems accommodated within such a small structure can also attest to its failure because all these systems require different conditions, which under minimal space could interfere with one another. A vital lesson is thus learnt; in order for an artificial biosphere to sustain life, earth-like conditions, notwithstanding, a much larger structure would have to be designed in order to accommodate different earth climates that support life. Biosphere 2 system’s malfunction was noted when the heat produced in the structure exceeded expected levels, forcing the engineers to modify the structure’s design to allow for large amounts of water to be used as a heat sink system (Alling, Nelson and Silverstone, 1993). Once water was used as a heat sink, it was pumped outside the building to enable heat to dispel before the water was pumped back inside. This typically meant that the self-sustaining, completely enclosed structure required interference from other sources in order to maintain adequate temperatures inside the structure. Without such life-saving interference from the engineers, the artificial bio system would have stopped working after a few days. The single mark of the ratio between sunlight and glass exemplifies biosphere 2’s inadequacy to sustain life on another planet. Scientists came to the realization that for an artificial ...Show more
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Summary

Science and Culture Larry Buenafe Science & Culture LIB 332 Prof Elise Sweet 20 Feb 2012 Introduction For most people, the concept of failure is a tough thing to deal with, and people often find ways of either denouncing the failure or dealing with it. In science, however, failure is upheld as a source of learning and gaining more in-depth knowledge on a topic…
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Science and Culture Essay
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