Mini Ecosystems And Ecospheres History
It all began on July 15th 1982, a scientist called Jo Hanson of Jet Propulsion Labs in the USA held a workshop to unveil the closed Ecosystem. The system was created with Dr Clair Folsome.
You may ask why? This project was to close an Ecosystem to the outside influences of oxygen. This led to an amazing study where animal and plant life could be studied to sustain humans in space exploration. It was discovered that micro-organisms, algae and a higher life form with no predators could live independently in closed lab beakers. They were studying ways to build spaceships that could keep astronauts alive for long space journeys. They wanted the environment inside the spaceship to maintain itself, producing food and oxygen for the crew and keeping the air and water clean and reusable. As part of NASA’s experiments, they discovered how to make a self-contained living world inside a closed glass container. This was called Mission Planet Earth .
Hundreds were made and studied and in 1983 Loren Acker, President of Engineering and Research Association visited a Nasa official and noticed a particular unit. Joe Hanson created the product but Acker obtained a NASA technology license for the mini ecosystems, starting the first manufacture of the products. Following the conclusion of NASA’s studies they allowed them to be sold and enjoyed under the name of Ecospheres
The original Ecosphere has been featured in many TV programmes, magazines and in museums around the world. The original family still run the Ecosphere company in America which is still highly successful with manufacturing partners worldwide – our own mini ecosystem partner in the UK is based in Germany and is also family run.
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