Remember college life when friends with like interests gathered at the local coffeehouse with their newly acquired knowledge, and bantered about the potential uses for their education? In retrospect, the majority of those perceived achievements were mostly idealistic in nature.
But, suppose you envisioned a closed ecosystem for humans, and then convinced a philanthropist to part with over $150 million dollars of his money so you could play with the idea? Impossible, you say.
John Allen founded the Synergia Ranch in 1969, a counterculture ecovillage in New Mexico. He and a group of friends kicked around the idea of creating a closed ecosystem to develop methods for building settlements on Mars, and the advancement of space colonies. As luck would have it, Ed Bass arrived at the ranch after a stint as a professional student with the intention of “exploring the world.” In his back pocket was a fortune amassed from the oil industry by a deceased relative.