Life Under Glass: The Inside Story of Biosphere 2



Book Reviews

This project probably pioneered the transformation of ecology into an experimental science, while the crew has survived a unique social experiment: the longest voluntary tenure in a confined environment on record.
— USA Today

“An interesting experiment that could significantly aid the current space entrepreneurs with their intentions to colonize the moon and elsewhere.”

— CJ Kenji

I decided on three stars as I would give it 5 stars for describing their workday and how the biosphere worked and the problems they overcame and what they learned, etc. etc. etc. But I would give it one star for personal information, so I averaged it out to three. The biggest disappointment was that there was no real personal info. I understand that they swore a blood oath not to divulge any specific interpersonal relationships, but that doesn’t seem to me to preclude the authors’ personal interior trips, nor how the dynamic of 8 people in isolation for 2 years ebbed and flowed. I was left with no idea how it would be to live like that. I am sure that there were irritations between people which came and went, feelings of wanting to quit and leave, being glad to have the time without much worldly distraction, elation and despair, and so on. What about the psychology of the great experiment?At the end I was left with the feeling of – yeah, but what did it feel like, what was it like to be in there for 2 years?”

— James G. Broadwell

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

By Science Fan on December 21, 2004

Having first read “Biosphere 2: The Human Experiment” by John Allen, I came away with the technical side of its workings with only a brief look at the actual participants themselves and the going-on inside the ‘dome. I searched out this book to gain a more personal aspect as to what it was like to live in isolation from the outside world with several other great scientists and have to deal with the fact that your very survival inside this pseudo-spaceship would depend utterly upon fragile human relationships and teamwork. The author is very good at describing a typical workday inside B2 and also describes the many personalities, quirks and eccentricities that made the people around her all so human. This is a book about the PEOPLE and not just a focus on the technology, and that’s exactly what I found to be most interesting. What B2 fan hasn’t wondered if they themselves could have managed inside for a year if given the chance? After reading this book, I realized I didn’t have the “right stuff” to be a biosperian and probably would have been banging on the airlock to get out after a week. If you want to know what it was like to live in there, then read it from the people who lived it..the authors themselves. Very enlightening and recommended.


5.0 out of 5 stars – Everyone should buy the book and visit the Biosphere 2

By sunridge on February 23, 2018

we have been thru 3 times and loved reading the book


5.0 out of 5 stars

ByAmazon Customer on March 12, 2018

Fascinating reading, especially if you have ever been to the Biosphere.


5.0 out of 5 stars

By Carson E. Bench on July 31, 2015

Great detail. Wish I’d read it before touring the Biosphere 2.


Additional Information:

Published also in Dutch (1993) and Japanese (Kdansha Press, 1997)


We encourage you to purchase your copy of this book at your local bookstore! 

Other Books You Might Enjoy