Space Camp Biosphere 2

July 30, 2019

Media Advisory: Space Camp Biosphere 2

  • What: Space Camp Biosphere 2, a summer program for 10 undergraduate students from Arizona and Japan.
  • When: Monday, Aug. 5 through Saturday, Aug. 10.
  • Where: Biosphere 2, 32540 S. Biosphere Rd., Oracle, Arizona.
  • Note: The camp is not open to the public. Media members are invited to attend.                 

TUCSON, Ariz. — Five undergraduate students from Kyoto University in Japan and five from colleges across Arizona, including one from the University of Arizona, will converge at Biosphere 2 for Space Camp Biosphere 2, a six-day crash course on space exploration.

The summer camp is jointly run and organized by researchers from Kyoto and the UA. At the camp, students will learn about Biosphere 2's diverse ecosystems and how they can be translated for use by humans in space. Students will experience hands-on earth and space systems research in the rainforest, ocean and desert biomes. They will also attend lectures by faculty from both universities and three former astronauts, including Richard Linnehan, Kimiya Yui and Takao Doi, according to Biosphere 2 deputy director John Adams.

"This is a unique opportunity for us to partner with researchers from Japan with experience on the International Space Station and leverage the long history the UA has with space travel and subject matter around that, including Biosphere 2," Adams said. "For many people the strong belief is that an extended stay in space needs to be balanced between bioregulated support and mechanical devices, not just one or other. The Biosphere is a great backdrop to have those conversations and discuss lessons learned here with the students."

This is the first official Space Camp Biosphere 2.

"Our hope is that each year the program will grow to give more students from around the world the opportunity to participate," Adams said.

Nearly 50 students from Arizona and another 47 students from Japan applied to the program, according toMichelle Coe, Arizona/NASA Space Grant Consortium manager who coordinated the student selection process. The selected Arizona students come from a diverse pool of majors, demographics and colleges, she said.

Kyoto University ran the space camp for the past three years in Japan, but now, after receiving funding from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, they partnered with Biosphere 2 to facilitate and expand the program, she said.

"A lot of applicants had outstanding letters of recommendation and high grade point averages, but what made the selected students stand out," Coe said, "was that each of them talked about getting to work with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) scholars, which I thought was important, and also talked about their visions for the future."

The UA Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Biosphere 2 and the Kyoto University Unit for Synergetic Studies for Space, as well as the Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability of Kyoto University will be responsible for the camp.

Biosphere 2 is one of the world's most unique facilities dedicated to the research and understanding of global scientific issues. It houses seven model ecosystems of the Earth and was constructed in Oracle, Arizona, in 1991. It is a tightly sealed glass and steel structure on over three acres and has been owned and operated by the UA since 2011.

Program contacts:
John Adams
Biosphere 2

Michelle Coe
UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
Arizona/NASA Space Grant Consortium

Media contact:
Mikayla Mace
University Communications

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top 50 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the UA is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The UA ranked in the top 25 in 2018 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $687 million in annual research expenditures. The UA advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually.