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I know what you're thinking-
"Yeah, I remember this- it was called 'biosphere II'"
Biosphere II was an experiment done in the early 90's. It was supposed to be a self-contained ecosystem, and this team of scientists were gonna be locked into it for 2 years.
Biosphere II was a total flop. For
starters, they tried to create a large number of biomes- to replicate the diversity of Earth's ecosystem. They had an ocean biome, a rainforest biome, a plains biome, etc, etc, and a huge number of diverse lifeforms. I think it was probably way too complex to be manageable. However, Biosphere II's main failure was a huge engineering mishap- the concrete reacted with the oxygen in the atmosphere, causing oxygen levels to plummet. The experiment finally had to be abandoned.
My suggestion is a large structure (I'm guessing a geodesic dome) which contains ONLY the minimal plants (and possibly animals, esp. pollinators) necessary for human survival and the continuation of the ecosystem. This would all be planned out by a team of nutritionists, botanists, biologists, ecologists, engineers, and whatever other scientists necessary. Solar panels can be arrayed around the structure to power computers/pumps/whatever else is necessary.
Ideally the inhabitants would be raw foodists, and as high of a percentage of the plant life inside would be edible. They would lead an Edenic life, never having to shop or cook- they just step outside and grab something off a tree. Inhabitants needn't worry about crop diseases, competing predators, etc.
They'd probably have to be sure to take their dumps outside and bury them, in order to plant new seeds.
It now stands as a research unit (and tourist trap, i'm sure) for Columbia University [utexaspunk, Mar 30 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]
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||I like the whole minimalist idea, to much stuff leaves to much room for error.
||I live fairly close to biosphere 2. They made a lot of stupid mistakes, but as the facility stands today is it a ver important research institution. From developing faster growing trees, to finding ways to deal with depletion of the coral reefs.
||1: not knowing that if you have a glass that filters UV rays bees (which were the main polinators of the system) cant navigate.
||2: Not having natural wind cycles. The trees would grow up with out wind and grow top heavy and fall over.
||By the time that those problems were realized, support for a self sustaining human habitat had dwindled substantially.
||- for this idea because biosphere two was not to see if we could support human life, but to see if we could support and maintain some of the worlds more fragile habitats sans outside intervention.