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The first experience of the colonization of Mars over conventional death

 Jaroslav KORBATOV

Первый опыт колонизации Марса закончился условной гибелью людейThe complex of buildings of the project “Biosphere -2”. Photo: FACEBOOK

Shocking details of the experiment “Biosphere 2”, which was conducted by the Americans in the Arizona desert

The other day on the Ground after a year (!) expedition Mcvernon Russian-American crew consisting of Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly. Or “Roscosmos”, no NASA no secret that this long-term mission is nothing more than a rehearsal of a flight to Mars. According to the calculations of sending troops to the Red planet could take place within the next 15-20 years. Flight Kelly and Kornienko had to give an answer to the main question: is it possible to protect the astronauts from cosmic radiation during a 15-month trip to a nearby planet? At the annual mission doctors have reported that solved this problem. So the way to colonizing the moon and Mars open? But not so simple. Once astronauts leave Earth orbit they could be in danger, now scientists are not able to calculate. A vivid illustration of this subject was the famous experiment “Biosphere -2”, which took place in the USA in the early 90-ies.


The creation of closed ecological system in the Arizona desert millionaire enthusiast Edward Beatportal $ 200 million. The purpose of the experiment: to understand whether people live in an artificial environment. A great experience was staged with an eye on the colonization of Mars or the establishment of safe havens on the Earth in the case of a global environmental catastrophe.


“Biosphere-2” consisted of pavilions from different climatic zones (tropical forest, desert, ocean, savanna, mangroves), it was populated with more than three thousand species of flora and fauna. And the crew is fully sealed giant capsules consisted of scientists of the top class, it’s not “House-2”! When the experiment started, many thought that the colonists go for a 2-year vacation Paradise. However, eight scientists had to balance on the edge of life and death.

Первый опыт колонизации Марса закончился условной гибелью людей

In one of the pavilions project. Photo: University of Arizona


At first the colonists were passionate about only experiment.

– Only then I began to realize that they are part of the biosphere, – said Jane Poynter. And this is not an abstract word. The carbon dioxide that I breathed out was absorbed by the leaves of the sweet potato. We ate so much sweet potato that, in the end, my skin has turned orange from it. And carbon from that sweet potatoes again became part of me. You could say I was eating the same carbon over and over again. In fact, I was eating myself.

A few weeks after the start of the experiment it was found that the oxygen content in the atmosphere capsule inexplicably falls. And after a few months got to be oxygen deprivation. It was later revealed that the designers did not take into account that a large amount of oxygen will absorb bacteria, which were many in specially imported fertile soil. In addition, the oxygen reacted with the concrete lining inside the “Biosphere” and settled on the walls in the form of calcium carbonate.

Colonists could expect to save them the green light – trees from the tropical zone. In addition, they every piece of land planted with fast growing plants to increase photosynthesis. But we also found another mistake by designers. They did not foresee the phenomenon of the wind. And without regular swinging tree trunks became fragile and brittle. Occasionally green trees, which scientists prayed, fell with a crash, breaking all around…

Due to the increase of carbon dioxide concentration was hasanagas the deaths of animals. Extinct most of the inhabitants of the farm, disappeared all pollinating insects. But in incredible amounts divorced ants and cockroaches.

16 months after the start of the experiment the oxygen level fell so much that the people began to choke at night, when darkness oxygen production by plants ceases. During the day they experienced the state of chronic apathy and fatigue. At one point, doctor Roy Walford found herself, unable to fold in the mind of two two-digit numbers. Only then the settlers had requested the assistance of the mainland and, contrary to the conditions of the experiment, began to upload under the dome oxygen.


Another shocking event for the crew was the hunger. One day head of the farm Jane Poynter admitted that their entire farm complex could provide the colony with products only 83% of the planned ration. These calculations appeared in neeede a few months before the start of the project, but the doctor Roy Walford convinced Jane to keep silent about their fears.

The fact that Wolford developed the theory of life extension through calorie restriction (provided that the body nonetheless receives all the vital substances). And, on this occasion, the doctor wanted to carry out in the framework of the project “Biosphere-2” and own experiment. His laboratory mice, which have reduced the caloric content by 50 percent, lived twice as long. But with humans it was much more difficult…

For the first year, the colonists lost a lot of weight on the average of 16-18 percent. It has dropped nearly a fifth of body weight. After stealing bananas from the pantry (in “crime” no one admitted) grocery store were locked. The doctor, however, triumphed: medical tests proved that the charges decreased level of cholesterol, stabilized blood pressure, improved metabolism and immune system. Men and women younger and indicators of health have improved.

Constant hunger, plus lack of oxygen dramatically affected the relationships within the team. The colonists began to experience each other with outright hostility. Some flatly refused outside help, referring to the purity of the experiment was concealed from the rest of the problems that arose at the station. Other led Jane Poynter believed that the experiment will not lose anything if they will cease to torture and will help with food and oxygen.

– One time I was cleaning the pens for the animals on the farm recalls Poynter. – Couldn’t breathe and I felt really bad. At this moment he heard footsteps. Turning around I saw Abigail Lhling. She had something in her mouth. I don’t have time to say anything, as she spat in my face. I was taken aback and could only ask “why?”. Abigail retorted: “You know!” And walked away…

The team still managed to finish the experiment. Although they had to open emergency supply of food and to pump additional volume of oxygen. In the conditions of a flight to Mars or the colonization of the red planet this trick already failed. People would have died because to help there was no one left to come.

“Biosphere 2” is a good lesson-a warning to the organizers of future expeditions. Our world is very fragile. And to create a copy of Earth on another planet want to be like the Creator.


– September 26, 1991 – the beginning of the experiment. The team of 8 participants had 2 years to live in artificially created biological system completely isolated from the outside world.

– November-December 1991. The researchers found that the level of oxygen in the atmosphere begins to decline at a rate of 0.5% per month. The colonists began to intensively grow biomass to raise the oxygen content in the air, but their efforts were in vain.

– January 1992. Before the colonists looming food crisis. The rice crops were destroyed by pests. Breakfast buffet was canceled, entered soldering. Their energy value was 1700 calories per day per person. That is insufficient for people engaged in hard physical labor.

– April-may 1992. As a result of constant conflict the team was divided into 2 warring groups. 4 people headed Jane Poynter insisted to accept outside help. The other half of the crew was categorically against violation of the purity of the experiment.

– November 1992. Suffering from famine, the inhabitants of “Biosphere 2” opened up emergency food reserves. Jane Poynter informed the leadership of the project. She was immediately dismissed, she was ordered to leave the territory of the experiment, but Jane refused to do it.

By January 1993, the oxygen level decreased from 21 to 14.2%. This concentration of gas is observed at the altitude of 4080 meters. People began to experience severe oxygen deprivation. The project leadership made the decision to secretly upload inside the “Biosphere” 23 tons of oxygen.

– May-July 1993. The colonists were able to grow a good crop weighing more than a ton. It is possible to increase the caloric intake and people are partially compensated for the significant weight loss observed in the first year.

– September 26, 1993 – the end of the experiment.


New Robinsons had agricultural land with an area of 1.27 hectares. They grew bananas, papaya, sweet potatoes, beets, peanuts, beans, rice, wheat and other crops.

On the farm lived livestock: 4 goats and 1 goat, 35 hens and 3 cock; 2 sows and 1 boar. In addition, the colonials had their fisheries: they bred undemanding fish, the tilapia.


Group A*

Sally Silverstone, 36 years. The captain of the colony, the expert on agriculture. Solved organizational questions.

– Mark van Tillo, 30 years. The captain of the colony, a professional mechanic. Was responsible for technical issues

– Abigail Lhling, 31 years. Oceanographer, Director of research.

– Mark Nelson, 44 years. Was responsible for irrigation and sewage disposal system. PR-project Director, kept in touch the inhabitants of the “Biosphere” with the outside world.

Group B*

– Jane Poynter, 29 years. Specialist in intensive agriculture. Managed the farm and provided the colony with food.

– Taber McCallum, 27. Technical assistant.

Linda Lay, 39 years. Botanist, her area of responsibility – flora “Biosphere”.

Roy Wolford, 67 years. The team doctor.

* these two warring camps divided the colonists, when faced with hunger and lack of oxygen.

By the WAY

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