A Miniature Planet Inside a Planet

By Anupum Pant

A couple of months back I wrote about a miniature sealed self-sustaining ecosystem that an old man has been running successfully for more than 53 years now. The whole ecosystem surviving out of itself in a completely closed system for such a long time is really fascinating. It’s like a little planet.

What if I tell you, there’s a much larger version of this completely sealed biosphere in Arizona. Much larger than the bottle, but way too smaller than our planet, and yet it works like a little planet inside a planet.

They call it the Biosphere 2 (Biosphere 1 is the plane earth’s biosphere). It is a completely closed 3-acre facility, currently owned by the University of Arizona, which doesn’t allow any matter to go in or out. There’s just energy moving in and out of this little planet that is the size of 3 football fields. Exactly like a miniature version of our pale blue dot.

Think about it this way. If you had to make a pizza in a place like that, it could take you two months or more, assuming you had everything needed to make a pizza (goats/cows for the cheese etc…). Just thinking about it makes you appreciate the fact that we’ve come so far. So far, that we’re able to get a pizza right on our door step in under 30 minutes.

The Biosphere 2 was designed to get a deeper understanding on how the earth’s biosphere actually works. Also, its aim was to try and create a prototype space base for Mars – Something like a little planet earth where we could live in and could carry it with us on a trip to other planets.

In the Biosphere 2 are areas that are meant for humans to live. Besides that there is a miniature rainforest, a savannah, a desert, a marsh, and a little mini-ocean in there!

Jane Poynter, with her team, walked into this biosphere when she was 29 years old. She lived in there for about 2 years and then came out. The world felt like a completely different place to her. It is really interesting to hear her talk in this TEDx talk…

Extreme Bionics – Artificial Limbs as Good as Real Ones

By Anupum Pant

Hugh Herr is an American rock climber, engineer, and biophysicist who lost both his limbs below the knee due to a bad climbing accident. He now heads the MIT Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group. In the following talk he talks and shows off an incredible new kind of prosthetic they’ve developed.

The guest appearance of Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a dancer who lost a limb in the 2013 Boston bombing, makes it so touching. Don’t miss that.

So, here Herr giving one of those greatest talks you’ve ever seen. It’ll makes you realize how science is bringing closer a glorious future. If we keep moving at this pace, soon there will be a day when there will really be no disabilities. That is all I want to say.