SAM is under construction at Biosphere 2 SAM is under construction at Biosphere 2 SAM is under construction at Biosphere 2 SAM is under construction at Biosphere 2 SAM is under construction at Biosphere 2 SAM is under construction at Biosphere 2

Phase I: Test Module Restoration, January-June 2021
This initial effort was to return the 1987 Test Module, the prototype for the much larger Biosphere 2, to an active working state. As the Test Module had been abandoned some twenty years prior, the effort was a tremendous undertaking, concluding in a four hours, five person pressurized test.

The following summary is detailed in the extensive photo essays provided at the SAM blog:
– Total gut of the Test Module, remove all wiring, plumbing, and heat exchanger
– Remove dirt in-fill and wood floor from early 2000s experiment
– Power wash and scrub every interior and exterior surface
– Sand, prime, and paint entire interior
– Coat upward facing glass panels with 100% silicone elastomeric
– Apply window tint to all horizontal facing glass panels
– Install electrical panel and circuits for hydroponics
– Install mini-split heat pumps for heating, cooling
– Conduct initial sanding and repair of lung pan and lower bolted rim
– Patch and repair the lung membrane
– Move the lung pressurization system from the original Heat & Power building to the exterior of the lung
– Install Paragon Space Development Corporation CO2 scrubber
– Inflate, test, and conduct the first sealed pressure test


SAM TM to crew quarters hatch design Concrete footings poured at SAM, Biosphere 2 Kai Staats removing an old panel from the Mars yard roof at SAM, Biosphere 2 Luna Powell attaches joist hangers for the SAM Air Intake Room at Biosphere 2 Charlie from the UA Welding shop at SAM, Biosphere 2 John Z. laying the second row of cork flooring at SAM, Biosphere 2

Phase II: Expansion, October 2021 – April 2022
This second phase saw the expansion of the original Test Module into a larger volume with modules dedicated to a workshop, kitchen, bath, crew common area, and sleeping quarters.

The following summary is detailed in the extensive photo essays provided at the SAM blog:
– Initial effort to establish the SAM Operations Center and Mission Control
– Remove two windows from the TM and replace with a steel expansion panel
– Pour concrete footings for two shipping containers: 20′ (Workshop) and 40′ (Crew Quarters)
– Place the shipping containers
– Paint TM interior (continued)
– Move and attach an original Biosphere 2 airlock to the 40′ container as the primary entrance
– Remove 40′ refrigeration unit and all associated electrical systems
– Install a custom fabricated steel plate to define the bathroom wall
– Build the SAM Air Intake Room (AIR) at the lower lung wall
– Design, fabricate, and install bridges from the Test Module to the 20′ and from the 20′ to the 40′
– Design, fabricate, and install the bathroom floor framework
– Remove the remains of the roof the adjacent, 6400 sq-ft greenhouse structure (future Mars yard)
– Install a multi-layer, sealed steel floor in the 20′ (Workshop)
– Install a zero-VOC cork floor (with underlayment) in the 40′
– Install a prototype hydroponics system in the Test Module
– Prepare to host the Analog Astronaut Conference at Biosphere 2


Nathan Schmit, Kai Staats salvaging an original pressure door from Biosphere 2 for SAM. Nathan Schmit sands the third pressure door at SAM, Biosphere 2 Nathan Schmit replacing more than 170 rivets in the future crew quarters of SAM at Biosphere 2 Luna snapping a chalk line at SAM, Biosphere 2 Members of the SAM development team at Biosphere 2

Phase III: Seal and build-out interior, June-July 2022, October 2022 – February 2023
This first phase saw the sealing of the expanded volume such that the extended SAM could again maintain a pressurized, hermetic seal for the duration of a crewed mission.

The following summary is detailed in the extensive photo essays provided at the SAM blog:
– Design and build a prototype sleeping pod
– Install skylight-window at 40′ bathroom-end
– Install a new roof on the adjacent 6400 sq-ft Mars yard
– Install mini-split heat pump for heating, cooling 40′
– On-going, consecutive pressure tests to locate and patch leaks
– Insulate 20′ container
– Paint TM interior (continued)
– Replace temporary steel fabrication with welding for permanent, pressurized seal
– Insulate 20′ container (complete)
– Install fiberglass reinforced panels (RFP) on 20′ ceiling and walls
– Remove standard container doors
– Frame 40′ end
– Remove pressure door from basement of B2, move, and attach to 40′ end
– Patch tears in 40′ interior and exterior walls
– Prime and paint 40′ exterior
– Continue frequent pressure tests, repair leaks, improve total envelope
– Sand, prime, and paint tunnel from the Test Module to the lung
– Complete painting of all interior spaces
– Install electrical panel in 20′; run lines to workstations and 40′
– Install electrical in 40′
– Install smoke and fire detection systems with emergency lighting
– Install waste water tank
– Install plumbing, toilet, shower, bathroom and kitchen sinks
– Install dehumidifiers, water treatment systems, and potable storage
– Build final three sleeping pods
– Test, test, and test some more
– Receive first team March 4!

Phase IV: Fine tune SAM, develop Mars Yard, and work on Operations Center
See – March – June 2023
Coming soon!