The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2

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9781560257752: The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2

It's a story that has never been told ... until now. Imagine being sealed into a closed environment for two years — cut off from the outside world with only seven other people — enduring never-ending hunger, severely low levels of oxygen, and extremely difficult relationships. Crew members struggled to survive in Biosphere 2, where they swore nothing would go in or out — no food or water, not even air — all in the name of science. For the first time, biospherian Jane Poynter — who lived and loved in the Biosphere — is ready to share what really happened in there. She takes readers on a riveting, fast-paced trip through shattered lives, scientific discovery, cults, love, fears of insanity, and inspiring human endurance. The eight biospherians who closed themselves into the Biosphere emerged 730 days later... much wiser, thinner, and having done what many had said was impossible.

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About the Author:

JANE POYNTER is an adventurer whose participation in Biosphere 2 involved training in survival techniques in the Australian outback and sailing a ferro-cement boat in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. She was the only member of the Biosphere crew to be fired three times (and reinstated three times). While inside, she and her husband-to-be, fellow crew member Taber McCallum, not only arranged to have a house built for themselves, but began a space technology firm, Paragon Space Development Corporation. She has designed and built experiments that have ridden in the International Space Station and had three more on the ill-fated Columbia mission. In addition to writing this book, she and Paragon are developing life support systems for the space shuttle and for Navy deep-sea divers. In addition, she is working on an innovative project to feed the hungry in the poorest nations while sequestering carbon. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, and enjoys motorcycle racing for weekend relaxation.

Jane appears in the Encyclopedia Britannica as a member of the Biosphere 2 crew, and has appeared on many television shows, magazine and newspaper articles about the project and her work in space and the environment.

JAKE PAGE is a science editor and writer, novelist, and essayist who has collaborated with scientists and others on thirty books of non-fiction, most recently THE BIG ONE (Houghton-Mifflin) with geologist Charles Officer and, before that, THE FIRST AMERICANS (Random House) with archaeologist James M. Adovasio. He was editor of Natural History and science editor of Smithsonian. He lives in Lyons, Colorado.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

PROLOGUE Eight o’ clock in the morning on September 26, 1993. I stood in my prickly blue jumpsuit with the other seven inmates of the Bubble, as some of us liked to call it. We waited for the radio announcement that it was time to walk through the double-doored airlock, that the mission was finally over. I would like to say that I was pondering heady thoughts about the future of mankind, but all I could think of was how much I wished that dear Jane Goodall would shut up. I have the deepest respect for my fellow countrywoman who has dedicated her life to the study and conservation of chimpanzees, taught us that apes use tools and laugh, too, and caused us to redefine what it is that makes us human. But as Jane gave the keynote speech leading to our re-entry into the world, into what we called Biosphere 1, the minutes ticked by with agonizing slowness.

"Come on, people," I muttered to myself. "I signed up for two years—not two years and one minute, or two minutes. Only two years."

Eight ten. "Jane, let us apes out of the cage!"

Eight fifteen.

Finally, some screeching over the radio told us to scurry to the heavy metal airlock fashioned out of submarine bulkheads years earlier. It was eight twenty. We stepped in, the door swinging closed behind us with the bang and scrape of the closure mechanism, and the outer door opened.

One by one, we stepped out of our simple life of milking goats and weeding the garden, of weather reports that included—along with temperature and humidity readings—the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide. We left the daily struggle with tedium and discord, and stepped into applause, a trumpeted fanfare, cheering, a sea of cameras, backslaps, and handshakes.

For the first time in two years and twenty minutes, I inhaled the view of the bright desert sky with no white bars dissecting it into geometric patterns. The air seemed thin, insipid, not the thick atmosphere redolent with molecules from plants, fungi, animals—the pungent, pleasant, and unmistakable earthy fragrance of Biosphere 2.

Since September 26, 1991 the eight of us had risked much to live as if on Mars, farming all our food, recycling our water, our waste, and even the oxygen we breathed in our hermetically sealed 3.15-acre world. The rainforest, savannah, desert, ocean, and marsh had been our in-vitro test subjects for ecological research. But the glass and steel structure made a pressure cooker, our human foibles boiling to the surface in what some named the Human Experiment.

Now ten years have smoothed the searing anger I felt upon completing our mission. I can at last recall and assess the controversy and all that occurred in and around our New Age Garden of Eden, aided by the many people I have interviewed and the records I have read, with what approximates objectivity. I want to tell this extraordinary adventure tale of a colorful band of mavericks attempting what many said was impossible to set the record straight, to halt the maelstrom of misinformation that still swirls around the project.

Even now, when I open boxes containing books and clothing I had with me during my sojourn, the smell emanating from the brown cardboard transports me instantaneously back inside...

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Descripción Thunder s Mouth Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. It s a story that has never been told . until now. Imagine being sealed into a closed environment for two years -- cut off from the outside world with only seven other people -- enduring never-ending hunger, severely low levels of oxygen, and extremely difficult relationships. Crew members struggled to survive in Biosphere 2, where they swore nothing would go in or out -- no food or water, not even air -- all in the name of science. For the first time, biospherian Jane Poynter -- who lived and loved in the Biosphere -- is ready to share what really happened in there. She takes readers on a riveting, fast-paced trip through shattered lives, scientific discovery, cults, love, fears of insanity, and inspiring human endurance. The eight biospherians who closed themselves into the Biosphere emerged 730 days later. much wiser, thinner, and having done what many had said was impossible. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9781560257752

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Descripción Thunder s Mouth Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. It s a story that has never been told . until now. Imagine being sealed into a closed environment for two years -- cut off from the outside world with only seven other people -- enduring never-ending hunger, severely low levels of oxygen, and extremely difficult relationships. Crew members struggled to survive in Biosphere 2, where they swore nothing would go in or out -- no food or water, not even air -- all in the name of science. For the first time, biospherian Jane Poynter -- who lived and loved in the Biosphere -- is ready to share what really happened in there. She takes readers on a riveting, fast-paced trip through shattered lives, scientific discovery, cults, love, fears of insanity, and inspiring human endurance. The eight biospherians who closed themselves into the Biosphere emerged 730 days later. much wiser, thinner, and having done what many had said was impossible. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9781560257752

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