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8 men and women once sealed themselves inside this enormous fake Mars colony for 2 years — here's what it's like today

Business Insider Logo By Dave Mosher of Business Insider | Slide 1 of 50:  A decade before Elon Musk founded his  fast-rising rocket company, SpaceX, or ever spoke publicly about  colonizing Mars, a different billionaire captivated the world with Biosphere 2. Oil tycoon Ed Bass spent about $250 million to build and operate that facility as a proof-of-concept for a permanent, self-sustaining habitat on Mars. Four men and four women sealed themselves inside the nearly airtight space in September 1991 and emerged two years later. The experimental space-age facility served as the stage for a spectacular and controversial story of human endurance. Built into a hillside of the Arizona desert during the early 1990s, the complex remains a functional marvel of engineering. Business Insider recently visited Biosphere 2 to learn about the  many challenges that early Martian colonists could face. Here's what it's like inside the 3.14-acre bubble today.

A decade before Elon Musk founded his fast-rising rocket company, SpaceX, or spoke publicly about colonizing Mars, a different billionaire captivated the world with Biosphere 2.

Ed Bass, an oil tycoon, spent about $250 million to build and operate that facility as a proof-of-concept for a permanent, self-sustaining habitat on Mars. Four men and four women sealed themselves inside the airtight space in September 1991 and emerged two years later.

The experimental space-age facility served as the stage for a spectacular and controversial story of human endurance.

Built into a hillside of the Arizona desert during the early 1990s, the complex remains a functional marvel of engineering.

Business Insider recently visited Biosphere 2 to learn about the many challenges that early Martian colonists could face.

Here's what it's like inside the 3.14-acre bubble today.

© Katja Schulz / Flickr

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