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The eight people sealed inside Biosphere 2 for the past six months have lost weight and are digging deeper into their reserve supplies of food than they had planned.

An advisory committee visited the site last month to review the progress of the two-year experiment, which has been beset by allegations of cheating and a lack of scientific value."It's very clear that they were hungry and that there had been a loss of weight that was measurable," committee member Steve O'Brien told The Arizona Daily Star of Tucson in an interview published Friday.

O'Brien, a geneticist with the National Cancer Institute, told the newspaper one crew member lost about 40 pounds.

Space Biospheres Ventures, a private company, sealed four men and four women in the high-tech terrarium Sept. 26 to live for two years in their closed environment.