The Garden of Eden
Closed ecological systems or artificial biospheres are an integral part of the preparation process for further manned space exploration and interstellar human settlements. They are a way for us to better understand the wonder that is our own ecosystem and how it keeps all the elements needed for life in perfect harmony. Creating hospitable, self-supporting environments is imperative for our exploration into the cosmos. We have made starts and gathered valuable knowledge from the experiments, now we must use that knowledge to go all the way.
The challenges associated with creating even the smallest self-sustaining vivarium bring a profound appreciation for everything we tend to take for granted. The enormity of creating a replica of our own ecosystem that can sustain itself for even a small, finite period of time is daunting. The difficulty convincing investors and tax payers to obtain funding is sometimes even more demoralizing. But without mastering the science behind it, we cannot hope to leave the bounds of our home for new shores in the cosmos.
It might seem altogether unpractical to some that we should devote so much for future space exploration, especially when there are so many immediate competing concerns like alleviating poverty or eradicating disease. The benefit of shooting for the stars is that even if you don’t immediately succeed, you are closer to your dreams. The results from our biosphere experiments will show us how to terraform landscapes, improve sustainability, and aid ecological conservation; all of which have a swift, discernable impact on quality of life.
“With a partnership that includes 15 nations and with 68 nations currently using the ISS (International Space Station) in one way or another, this unique orbiting laboratory is a clear demonstration of the benefits to humankind that can be achieved through peaceful global cooperation.”
— Charles Bolden & John Holdren
“In the history of humanity, there have been many languages, including French, that have served as universal languages: Latin, Chinese, Arabic, and more. Yet none of them ever ruled the world the way English does today…
English is becoming a universal language such as humans have never had before.”
— Minae Mizumura
“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, ‘See! This our father did for us.’”
— John Ruskin
“And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came.”
— John F. Kennedy