Copyright © 2006 by Hseyin Sarper. Published by The Mars Society with permission.
THE BIOSPHERE OBSERVATION EXPERIMENT II (BOX II)
Colorado State University-Pueblo, Pueblo, Colorado 81001 USA
This purpose of this project is to improve on an existing design for the closed ecological system in which plant life and possible insect life may be self-sustained. The main goals of this project are to demonstrate both an increase in oxygen level in the biosphere and a reduction in the carbon dioxide level. The biosphere is self-sustaining with one uniform environment. This paper discusses the construction of a table-top experimental designi, the changes made to the original design and measuring devices used to quantify gas levels and other environmental variables, such as relative humidity, temperature and light intensity. The system is completely enclosed from its beginning to its conclusion. The main instruments contained in the sealed unit are oxygen and carbon dioxide sensors along with hobo data loggers. Oxygen is created using a mixture of two plant types: Fern (Bostoniensis and Pteris Cretica) and Croton (codium). These plants are grown in sterilized potting soil. This paper reports on our initial findings, the changes implemented and the underlying scientific principles of creating a biosphere. The BOX II is an attempt to improve the understanding of enclosed systems and to create a system that produces more consistent results over a longer term. By making slight changes to the design, any noticeable variations in results will be more meaningful.