Walking on air at SAM, Biosphere 2

Having completed our first application of a 100% silicone elastomeric on the exterior roof panels of the Test Module lung, we felt confident in our ability to apply the same to the top of the iconic Test Module itself. It may seem odd to cover glass with a opaque, reflective coating, but our intent is clear — we intend to eliminate the direct lighting of the greenhouse of SAM to more closely approximate an exterior structure on Mars where concern for radiation would, given our current understanding and technology, keep us from long-term exposure. While most structures will likely be bermed if not buried by a few meters of regolith, this coating drastically reduces the interior light and does in fact provide a sense of being enclosed.

The cleaning of the glass was no small undertaking. Thirty odd years of dust and rain baked onto the glass does not readily wash away. We used a high pressure sprayer run from the desk of a cherry picker, then scrubbed each window pane by hand with water, TSP, and vinegar.