“Basically I’m trying to recreate a micro, nano, tiny version of Earth in a jar,” Baute told the Star Vancouver of the structure, which is made up of a wood frame and heavy-duty plastic wrap sealed with tape and silicone. “And to do that, I need to think a lot about, mostly, air.”
As Baute explains, there’s approximately 30,000 liters of air in the structure, which he estimates would typically sustain a human being for three days. But, as he points out, the carbon dioxide levels would build up to a lethal point long before that if the right plants weren’t around to counteract it. The 200 plants that are spread around Baute’s temporary shelter, reportedly including sunflowers, corns, and beans, were chosen specifically for that purpose.
Baute has equipped the space with environmental-measuring tools to ensure the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels stay at a healthy rate. Should the percentage of carbon dioxide in the air reach a dangerous level, he says he’s prepared to abort the mission.
Baute will also face challenges when it comes to maintaining the temperature inside the sealed structure. Cool weather is crucial to ensuring the temperature inside the dome doesn’t reach harmful heights.
Despite the obstacles he may face during his three-day mission, the science enthusiast hopes that the risks of the project will be outweighed by the reward. “The most important thing, if anyone has any takeaways, is that we need to be doing something about the environment,” he stated.
And you don’t need to build your own dome to start evaluating your environmental practices. Baute suggests driving less and eating less meat as two simple but effective ways for people to lower their carbon footprint.