I've moved to new digs for a week, giving me a good opportunity to explore a different end of Tucson.
So Tuesday, I rode out to Biosphere2. I managed to get in a four hour ride, do the tourist thing, save the money for gas (for the car I don't possess) and get a sunburn all in one fell swoop!
The first thought I had was, what happened to Biosphere1? Turns out Biosphere1 is earth. Oh, got it. The interior of Biosphere2 is the size of three football fields, and has 5 different climate zones: rainforest, savanna, coral reef, mangrove, and desert. Super neat. It was actually used back in the 90's to test closed-system ecosystems and potential space colonization methods! A handful of people spent two years living entirely on what they grew and raised (and apparently at one point, this was mostly bananas).
The grounds and buildings are currently used by University of Arizona for a plethora of research, including insulation strategies for house rooves, as seen below with the miniature houses. Turns out the best material is a garden.