HOME

TheInfoList




The biosphere (from
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
βίος ''bíos'' "life" and σφαῖρα ''sphaira'' "sphere"), also known as the ecosphere (from Greek οἶκος ''oîkos'' "environment" and σφαῖρα), is the worldwide sum of all
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
s. It can also be termed the zone of
life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities A bubble of exhaled gas in water In common usage and classical mechanics, a physical object or physical body (or simply an object or body) is a collection of matter within a ...

life
on
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
. The biosphere is virtually a closed system with regards to matter, with minimal inputs and outputs. With regards to
energy In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regula ...

energy
, it is an open system, with photosynthesis capturing solar energy at a rate of around 130
Terawatts The watt (symbol: W) is a unit of Power (physics), power or radiant flux. In the International System of Units (SI), it is defined as a SI derived unit, derived unit of (in SI base units) 1 kg⋅m2⋅s−3 or, equivalently, 1 joule per second. I ...

Terawatts
per year. However it is a self-regulating system close to energetic equilibrium. By the most general biophysiological definition, the biosphere is the global
ecological Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms In biology ...
system integrating all
living beings Life form (also spelled life-form or lifeform) is an wikt:entity, entity that is Life, living, such as plants (flora) and animals (fauna). It is estimated that more than 99% of all species that ever existed on Earth, amounting to over five billio ...
and their relationships, including their interaction with the elements of the
lithosphere A lithosphere ( grc, λίθος [] for "rocky", and [] for "sphere") is the rigid, outermost shell of a terrestrial planet, terrestrial-type planet or natural satellite. On Earth, it is composed of the crust (geology), crust and the portion o ...
,
cryosphere The cryosphere (from the Greek ''kryos'', "cold", "frost" or "ice" and ''sphaira'', "globe, ball") is an all-encompassing term for those portions of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to ...
,
hydrosphere The hydrosphere (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is app ...
, and
atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in ...

atmosphere
. The biosphere is postulated to have
evolved Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolved
, beginning with a process of biopoiesis (life created naturally from non-living matter, such as simple organic compounds) or
biogenesis Biogenesis is the production of new living organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by tax ...
(life created from living matter), at least some 3.5 billion years ago. In a general sense, biospheres are any closed, self-regulating systems containing ecosystems. This includes artificial biospheres such as
Biosphere 2 Biosphere 2 is an American Earth system science Earth system science (ESS) is the application of systems science Systems science is an interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or ...

Biosphere 2
and
BIOS-3 BIOS-3 is an experimental closed ecosystem at the Institute of Biophysics in Krasnoyarsk Krasnoyarsk ( ; rus, Красноя́рск, a=Ru-Красноярск2.ogg, r=Krasnojársk, p=krəsnɐˈjarsk) is the largest city A city is a large hu ...
, and potentially ones on other planets or moons.


Origin and use of the term

The term "biosphere" was coined by geologist
Eduard Suess Eduard Suess (; 20 August 1831 - 26 April 1914) was an Austrian geologist A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes the Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that sha ...
in 1875, which he defined as the place on
Earth's surface Earth is the third planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to c ...

Earth's surface
where life dwells. While the concept has a geological origin, it is an indication of the effect of both
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that fu ...

Charles Darwin
and Matthew F. Maury on the
Earth sciences Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science related to the planet Earth. This is a branch of science dealing with the physical and chemical constitution of Earth and its atmosphere. Earth science can be considered to be a b ...
. The biosphere's ecological context comes from the 1920s (see Vladimir I. Vernadsky), preceding the 1935 introduction of the term "
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
" by Sir
Arthur Tansley Sir Arthur George Tansley FLSFLS may refer to: Places * Flinders Island Airport, in Tasmania, Australia * Fordham Law School in New York City * Free Library of Springfield Township in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, United States * Frontline States, a ...
(see ecology history). Vernadsky defined
ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms In biol ...
as the science of the biosphere. It is an
interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws knowledge from several other fields like sociology, anthropology, psychology, ...
concept for integrating
astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mathematics, phys ...
,
geophysics Geophysics () is a subject of natural science Natural science is a branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a b ...

geophysics
,
meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until the 18th century. The 19th century saw modest progress in the f ...
,
biogeography Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species and ecosystems in geography, geographic space and through evolutionary history of life, geological time. Organisms and biological communities often vary in a regular fashion along geograp ...

biogeography
,
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
,
geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...

geology
,
geochemistry Geochemistry is the science that uses the tools and principles of chemistry to explain the mechanisms behind major geological systems such as the Earth's crust and its oceans. The realm of geochemistry extends beyond the Earth, encompassing the e ...
,
hydrology Hydrology (from Ancient Greek, Greek wikt:ὕδωρ, ὕδωρ, ''hýdōr'' meaning "water" and wikt:λόγος, λόγος, ''lógos'' meaning "study") is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and management of water on Earth and ...
and, generally speaking, all life and Earth sciences.


Narrow definition

Geochemists define the biosphere as being the total sum of living organisms (the "
biomass Biomass is plant or animal material used as fuel to produce electricity Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position ...
" or " biota" as referred to by biologists and ecologists). In this sense, the biosphere is but one of four separate components of the geochemical model, the other three being ''
geosphere There are several conflicting definitions for geosphere. It may be taken as the collective name for the lithosphere A lithosphere ( grc, wikt:λίθος#Ancient Greek, λίθος [] for "rocky", and [] for "sphere") is the rigid, outermost s ...

geosphere
'', ''
hydrosphere The hydrosphere (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is app ...
'', and ''
atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in ...

atmosphere
''. When these four component spheres are combined into one system, it is known as the Ecosphere. This term was coined during the 1960s and encompasses both biological and physical components of the planet. The Second International Conference on Closed Life Systems defined ''biospherics'' as the science and technology of analogs and models of
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
's biosphere; i.e., artificial Earth-like biospheres. Others may include the creation of artificial non-Earth biospheres—for example, human-centered biospheres or a native
Martian Image:Woking tripod.JPG, 200px, Sculpture of a Martian (The War of the Worlds), Wellsian Martian Tripod in the town of Woking, England A Martian is an inhabitant of the planet Mars or a Colonization of Mars, human colonist on Mars. Although the ...

Martian
biosphere—as part of the topic of biospherics.


Earth's biosphere


Age

The earliest evidence for
life on Earth
life on Earth
includes
biogenic A biogenic substance is a product made by or of life forms. While the term originally was specific to metabolite compounds that had toxic effects on other organisms, it has developed to encompass any constituents, secretions, and metabolites of pl ...
graphite Graphite (), archaically referred to as plumbago, is a Crystallinity, crystalline form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a Hexagonal crystal system, hexagonal structure. It occurs naturally in this form and is the most stable for ...

graphite
found in 3.7 billion-year-old
metasedimentary rocks In geology, metasedimentary rock is a type of metamorphic rock. Such a rock was first formed through the deposition and solidification of sediment. Then, the rock was buried underneath subsequent rock and was subjected to high pressures and tempera ...
from Western Greenland and
microbial mat The cyanobacterial algal mat, salty lake on the White Sea">algal_mat.html" ;"title="cyanobacterial algal mat">cyanobacterial algal mat, salty lake on the White Sea seaside A microbial mat is a multi-layered sheet of microorganisms, mainly bacteria ...
fossils A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the a ...

fossils
found in 3.48 billion-year-old
sandstone Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock of a clast (sand grain), derived from a basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron ('' mafic ' ...

sandstone
from
Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Western Australia
. More recently, in 2015, "remains of biotic life" were found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia. Early edition, published online before print. In 2017, putative fossilized
microorganism A microorganism, or microbe,, ''mikros'', "small") and ''organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes ...
s (or
microfossils Micropaleontology (American spelling; spelled micropalaeontology in European usage) is the branch of paleontology (palaeontology) that studies microfossils, or fossils that require the use of a microscope to see the organism, its morphology and its ...

microfossils
) were announced to have been discovered in hydrothermal vent precipitates in the Nuvvuagittuq Belt of Quebec, Canada that were as old as 4.28 billion years, the oldest record of life on earth, suggesting "an almost instantaneous emergence of life" after ocean formation 4.4 billion years ago, and not long after the
formation of the Earth Earth is the third planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to c ...
4.54 billion years ago. According to biologist
Stephen Blair Hedgesfile:Stephen Hedges.jpg, Stephen Hedges Stephen Blair Hedges (known as S. Blair Hedges) is Laura H. Carnell Professor of Science and director of the Center for Biodiversity at Temple University where he researches the Tree of life (biology), tree of ...
, "If life arose relatively quickly on Earth ... then it could be common in the
universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological description of the development ...

universe
."


Extent

Every part of the planet, from the
polar Polar may refer to: Geography Polar may refer to: * Geographical pole, either of two fixed points on the surface of a rotating body or planet, at 90 degrees from the equator, based on the axis around which a body rotates *Polar climate, the clim ...
ice caps to the
equator The Equator is a circle of latitude, about in circumference, that divides Earth into the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Southern Hemisphere, Southern hemispheres. It is an imaginary line located at 0 degrees latitude, halfway between the N ...

equator
, features life of some kind. Recent advances in
microbiology Microbiology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

microbiology
have demonstrated that microbes live deep beneath the Earth's terrestrial surface, and that the total mass of
microbial A microorganism, or microbe,, ''mikros'', "small") and ''organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes ...
life in so-called "uninhabitable zones" may, in
biomass Biomass is plant or animal material used as fuel to produce electricity Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position ...
, exceed all animal and plant life on the surface. The actual thickness of the biosphere on earth is difficult to measure. Birds typically fly at altitudes as high as and fish live as much as underwater in the
Puerto Rico Trench The Puerto Rico Trench is located on the boundary between the Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lamè Karayib; jam, Kiaribiyan Sii; nl, Caraïbische Zee; pap, Laman Karibe) is an American med ...
. There are more extreme examples for life on the planet: Rüppell's vulture has been found at
altitude Altitude or height (also sometimes known as depth) is a distance measurement, usually in the vertical or "up" direction, between a reference and a point or object. The exact definition and reference datum varies according to the context (e.g. ...

altitude
s of ; migrate at altitudes of at least ;
yak The domestic yak (''Bos grunniens'') is a type of long-haired domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care o ...

yak
s live at elevations as high as above sea level;
mountain goat The mountain goat (''Oreamnos americanus''), also known as the Rocky Mountain goat, is a hoofed mammal endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, i ...

mountain goat
s live up to . Herbivorous animals at these elevations depend on lichens, grasses, and herbs. Life forms live in every part of the Earth's biosphere, including
soil Soil is a mixture In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, comp ...

soil
,
hot spring A hot spring, hydrothermal spring, or geothermal spring is a spring Spring(s) may refer to: Common uses * Spring (season), a season of the year * Spring (device), a mechanical device that stores energy * Spring (hydrology), a natural source of w ...

hot spring
s, inside rocks at least deep underground, the deepest parts of the ocean, and at least high in the atmosphere.
Microorganism A microorganism, or microbe,, ''mikros'', "small") and ''organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes ...
s, under certain test conditions, have been observed to survive the vacuum of outer space. The total amount of soil and subsurface bacterial
carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a with the C and 6. It is lic and —making four s available to form s. It belongs to group 14 of the periodic table. Carbon makes up only about 0.025 percent of Earth's crust. Three occur naturally, ...

carbon
is estimated as 5 × 1017 g, or the "weight of the United Kingdom". The mass of
prokaryote A prokaryote () is a single-celled organism A unicellular organism, also known as a single-celled organism, is an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual conti ...
microorganisms—which includes bacteria and archaea, but not the nucleated eukaryote microorganisms—may be as much as 0.8 trillion tons of carbon (of the total biosphere
mass Mass is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms of "more", "less", or "equal", or by assigning a numerical value ...
, estimated at between 1 and 4 trillion tons). Barophilic marine microbes have been found at more than a depth of in the
Mariana Trench The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is located in the western Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's five oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, de ...
, the deepest spot in the Earth's oceans. In fact, single-celled life forms have been found in the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, by the
Challenger Deep The Challenger Deep is the deepest known point in the Earth's seabed hydrosphere (the oceans), with a depth of by direct measurement from deep-diving submersible A submersible is a small watercraft designed to operate underwater. The t ...
, at depths of . Other researchers reported related studies that microorganisms thrive inside rocks up to below the sea floor under of ocean off the coast of the northwestern United States, as well as beneath the seabed off Japan. Culturable thermophilic microbes have been extracted from cores drilled more than into the
Earth's crust Earth's crust is a thin shell on the outside of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The ...
in Sweden, from rocks between . Temperature increases with increasing depth into the
Earth's crust Earth's crust is a thin shell on the outside of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The ...
. The rate at which the temperature increases depends on many factors, including type of crust (continental vs. oceanic), rock type, geographic location, etc. The greatest known temperature at which microbial life can exist is (''
Methanopyrus kandleri In taxonomy, ''Methanopyrus'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term ...
'' Strain 116), and it is likely that the limit of life in the "
deep biosphere The deep biosphere is the part of the biosphere The biosphere (from Greek βίος ''bíos'' "life" and σφαῖρα ''sphaira'' "sphere"), also known as the ecosphere (from Greek οἶκος ''oîkos'' "environment" and σφαῖρα), is t ...
" is defined by temperature rather than absolute depth. On 20 August 2014, scientists confirmed the existence of microorganisms living below the ice of
Antarctica Antarctica ( or ) is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Oc ...

Antarctica
. According to one researcher, "You can find microbes everywhere – they're extremely adaptable to conditions, and survive wherever they are." Our biosphere is divided into a number of
biome A biome is a collection of plants Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respi ...
s, inhabited by fairly similar
flora Flora is all the plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, ca ...
and
fauna Fauna is all of the animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellular r ...
. On land, biomes are separated primarily by
latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the ...

latitude
. Terrestrial biomes lying within the
Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a polar regions of Earth, polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska (United States), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Danish Realm, ...

Arctic
and
Antarctic Circle 350px, ''Map of the Antarctic with the Antarctic Circle in blue.'' The Antarctic Circle is the most southerly of the five major circle of latitude, circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. The region south of this circle is known as the An ...

Antarctic Circle
s are relatively barren of
plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel ...

plant
and
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells ...

animal
life, while most of the more populous biomes lie near the
equator The Equator is a circle of latitude, about in circumference, that divides Earth into the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Southern Hemisphere, Southern hemispheres. It is an imaginary line located at 0 degrees latitude, halfway between the N ...

equator
.


Annual variation


Artificial biospheres

Experimental biospheres, also called
closed ecological system 300px, Biosphere 2 Closed ecological systems (CES) are ecosystems that do not rely on matter exchange with any part outside the system. The term is most often used to describe small wikt:manmade, manmade ecosystems. Such systems are scientifical ...
s, have been created to study ecosystems and the potential for supporting life outside the Earth. These include spacecraft and the following terrestrial laboratories: *
Biosphere 2 Biosphere 2 is an American Earth system science Earth system science (ESS) is the application of systems science Systems science is an interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or ...

Biosphere 2
in
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States, Southwestern region of the United States. It is also usually considered part of the Mountain States, Mountain states. It is th ...

Arizona
, United States, 3.15 acres (13,000 m2). * BIOS-1, BIOS-2 and
BIOS-3 BIOS-3 is an experimental closed ecosystem at the Institute of Biophysics in Krasnoyarsk Krasnoyarsk ( ; rus, Красноя́рск, a=Ru-Красноярск2.ogg, r=Krasnojársk, p=krəsnɐˈjarsk) is the largest city A city is a large hu ...
at the Institute of Biophysics in
Krasnoyarsk Krasnoyarsk ( ; rus, Красноя́рск, a=Ru-Красноярск2.ogg, r=Krasnojársk, p=krəsnɐˈjarsk) is the largest types of inhabited localities in Russia, city and administrative center of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. It is situated alo ...

Krasnoyarsk
,
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
, in what was then the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
. * Biosphere J (CEEF, Closed Ecology Experiment Facilities), an experiment in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
. * Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative (
MELiSSA Melissa is a female given name. The name comes from the Greek language, Greek word μέλισσα (''mélissa''), "bee", which in turn comes from μέλι (''meli''), "honey". In Hittite language, Hittite, ''melit'' signifies "honey". ''Meliss ...
) at
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona The Autonomous University of Barcelona ( ca, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; , es, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona; UAB), is a public university mostly located in Cerdanyola del Vallès, near the city of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. ...


Extraterrestrial biospheres

No biospheres have been detected beyond the Earth; therefore, the existence of extraterrestrial biospheres remains hypothetical. The rare Earth hypothesis suggests they should be very rare, save ones composed of
microbial A microorganism, or microbe,, ''mikros'', "small") and ''organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes ...
life only. On the other hand,
Earth analog Before the scientific search for and study of extrasolar planets An exoplanet or extrasolar planet is a planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to ...
s may be quite numerous, at least in the
Milky Way galaxy The Milky Way is the galaxy that includes our Solar System, with the name describing the galaxy's appearance from Earth: a hazy band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars that cannot be individually distinguished by the naked eye. ...

Milky Way galaxy
, given the large number of planets. Three of the planets discovered orbiting TRAPPIST-1 could possibly contain biospheres. Given limited understanding of
abiogenesis In evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molec ...
, it is currently unknown what percentage of these planets actually develop biospheres. Based on observations by the
Kepler Space Telescope The Kepler space telescope is a deactivated space telescope A space telescope or space observatory is a telescope located in outer space Outer space is the expanse that exists beyond Earth and between astronomical object, celestial b ...
team, it has been calculated that provided the probability of abiogenesis is higher than 1 to 1000, the closest alien biosphere should be within 100 light-years from the Earth. It is also possible that artificial biospheres will be created in the future, for example with the
terraforming of Mars Image:MarsTransitionV.jpg, upright=1.4, Artist's conception of the process of terraforming Mars The terraforming of Mars or the terraformation of Mars is a hypothetical procedure that would consist of a planetary engineering project or concurren ...

terraforming of Mars
.


See also

*
Climate system Earth's climate arises from the interaction of five major climate system components: the Atmosphere of Earth, atmosphere (air), the hydrosphere (water), the cryosphere (ice and permafrost), the lithosphere (earth's upper rocky layer) and the biosp ...
*
Cryosphere The cryosphere (from the Greek ''kryos'', "cold", "frost" or "ice" and ''sphaira'', "globe, ball") is an all-encompassing term for those portions of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to ...
* Thomas Gold * Habitable zone * Homeostasis * Life support system * Man and the Biosphere Programme * Montreal Biosphère * Noogenesis * Noosphere * Rare biosphere * Shadow biosphere * Simple biosphere model * Soil biomantle * Wardian case * Winogradsky column


References


Further reading

* ''The Biosphere'' (A ''Scientific American'' Book), San Francisco, W.H. Freeman and Co., 1970, . This book, originally the December 1970 ''Scientific American'' issue, covers virtually every major concern and concept since debated regarding materials and energy resources (including solar energy), population trends, and environmental degradation (including global warming).


External links


Article on the Biosphere at Encyclopedia of Earth

GLOBIO.info
an ongoing programme to map the past, current and future impacts of human activities on the biosphere
Paul Crutzen Interview
freeview video of Paul Crutzen Nobel Laureate for his work on decomposition of ozone talking to Harry Kroto Nobel Laureate by the Vega Science Trust.
Atlas of the Biosphere
{{Authority control Oceanography Superorganisms Biological systems