Biosphere II is only the latest business venture that has captivated the imagination of Edward P. Bass, a wealthy Texan.
In addition to a 300,000-acre horse and cattle ranch in Australia, a London art gallery and publishing company, and an earthquake-proof Katmandu hotel, Bass also owns Fort Worth's Caravan of Dreams, a $5-million complex containing a blues and jazz nightclub, a 220-seat theater, a book shop, an art gallery, restaurants and a karate studio.
Atop the Caravan is a geodesic dome filled with cacti and other desert plants.
Bass, 41, is one of four brothers whose combined wealth has been estimated at several billion dollars. The family fortune was founded on oil, but the brothers greatly increased their wealth by shrewd investments in the stock market.
Another driving force behind Biosphere II is John Polk Allen, 57. He is a chairman of the Institute of Ecotechnics, which conceived and now manages Biosphere II.