In 1995, Columbia University took over management of the facility for research and as a campus until 2003.
It has in fact been extended for ten years, and is engaged in multi-year research projects including research into the water use of various Arizona grass species.
Prior to closure of Biosphere 2, initial tests were carried out in a smaller, 480 cubic meter onsite facility (the "Test Module"), looking at potable water generation, atmospheric sealing, atmospheric expansion and contraction, and the behavior of life systems inside a closed ecological system.
The sealed nature of the structure allowed scientists to monitor the continually changing chemistry of the air, water and soil contained within.
Health of the human crew was monitored by a medical doctor inside and an outside medical team.
At a size comparable to two and a half football fields, it remains the largest closed system ever created.
The glass facility is elevated nearly 4,000 feet above sea level at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains.The crew were: medical doctor and researcher Roy Walford, Jane Poynter, Taber Mac Callum, Mark Nelson, Sally Silverstone, Abigail Alling (a late replacement for Silke Schneider), Mark Van Thillo and Linda Leigh.The agricultural system produced 83% of the total diet, which included a wide variety of crops including bananas, papayas, sweet potatoes, beets, peanuts, lablab and cowpea beans, rice, and wheat.The announcement ended immediate fears that the famous glass vivarium would be demolished.University officials said private gifts and grants enabled them to cover research and operating costs for three years with the possibility of extending that funding for 10 years..Biosphere 2 had two closure experiments, Missions 1 and 2.The first, with a crew of eight people, ran for two years 1991-93.They manipulated carbon dioxide levels for global warming research, and injected desired amounts of carbon dioxide, venting as needed.On June 26, 2007, the University of Arizona announced it would take over research at the Biosphere 2.They lost an average of 16% of their pre-entry body weight before stabilizing and regaining some weight during their second year.Some of the domestic animals that were planned for the agricultural area during the first mission include four pygmy goats and one billy goat from the plateau region of Nigeria, 35 hens and three roosters (a mix of Indian jungle fowl or gallus gallus, Japanese silky bantam, and a hybrid of these), two sows and one boar pig (feral), as well as tilapia fish grown in a rice and azolla pond system originating millennia ago in China.