Mike Powell’s column is about living in Arizona.
One morning, in early 2011, my friend Ray took a few friends and me up to a place about an hour north of Tucson called Biosphere 2. Ray was working or volunteering there in some capacity and suggested that we follow him around. We drove up Oracle Road, which turns into Route 77, which I mention because you know that when a road turns into a route that you are leaving something. Strip malls and sprawl thinned out into empty desert. We made a few turns and rumbled over some cattle guards and that’s when I saw it, like a young boy’s crayon drawing of a space station rising majestically out of the dust.
“We’re here,” Ray said, as though that wasn’t already clear.
At the time, all I understood about Biosphere 2 was that it was a scientific research facility filled with re-creations of real-world environments: jungle, desert, ocean, et cetera. That, and that a group of scientists voluntarily locked themselves in there for two years during the early 1990s, where they strived, studied, bickered, lost a lot of weight, and eventually became the butt of a cultural joke. I admired them already. Read More