This proposal is not intended to focus on the original challenge, but an alternative solution inspired by the fusion of the original challenge and other ideas.
It's a low-cost virtual tourist attraction, otherwise described as purpose-built simulated augmented biosperic experiential environments, aimed at "earth-and-space tourism" for all.
Imagine that the head image is a real scenery of the proposed biospheric dome, with real people (tourists), sand, clear swimmable "sea/ocean"; simulated "sea/ocean waves/sound" and "skyscape". The sand, water and environment are changeable, with the aid of an integrated management system hidden undeground.
The array of "skyscapes" could simply be sophisticated translucent or opaque fabric projections with lighting effects, which is relatively more cost-effective and practical (about this later).
Wearing a cool pair of multi-functional VR/AR glasses (feels natural, not headset) with integrated earphones, adds a deeper augmented beachside experience, with active marine life - seagulls, jellyfish, crabs (aaahh!!); boats on the "horizon" (nice!), aircrafts in the sky, etc. The glasses also have binocular and night-vision functions.
Similarly, real-swimming with the glasses gives an augmented experience of a vibrant underwater aquatic life (wooow!). The depth of your overall experience depends on your pre-set personal preferences, from a broad gallery of sceneries, locations and other features.
In addition to personal VR/AR scenery, the physical environment itself provides realistic simulation of climates, seasons, day/nightimes, "natural" light shows, like aurora and other events, synchronised to real timezones. Experiential events are programmed accordingly and communicated by the external envelop as colour-coded display (more about external envelop later).
Located at the "beach" outskirts, are entrances to other simulated augmented environments, including earth "subterranean cave systems", tropical islands, "rainforests", etc; "space" and "extra-terrestrial" worlds (you may fancy being an "astronaut" on the ISS for the day/night or having your honeymoon on the "moon", your imagination's the limit). This topic is also touched on here.
External appearance and features
The external appearance of the biosperic structure is equally impressive. Its large scale is necessary for optimum "near/natural" experience. The architectural form is domelike, rather than full sphere, for better visual appeal.
The external envelop or skin could be made of structural fabric (e.g. the London millennium dome, UK) with protective coating material, containing solar/bioelectricity and biolumiscence and self-cleaning properties.
Alternatively, it could be of glass with internal streteched-fabric lining to provide seamless surface to the "skyscape" projections/simulations. In any event, the external envelop is also a power-generator, display medium and self-cleaning.
The virtual tourist attraction could be located near the sea or ocean, for easy access to a large body of water.
The purpose-built simulated environments provide the advantages of less site and experiential constraints, with more seamless and natural experiences. The environments eliminate serious issues associated with the constraints of a retrofitted or limited environment, where there are conflicts between physical and virtual movements.
This causes real risks of adverse cognitive neurological effects (brain confusion), triggering underlying conditions, such as motion sickness, epilepsy, etc.
The main income of the tourist attraction is generated from low-cost ticket sales and premium subtle/natural or subliminal brand placements, via the VR/AR spectacles and other media.
An example of brand placement via the VR/AR specs is when you identify an "airline cruising by in the sky" (through the binocular function of the specs). Each time you do so, it creates an impression on you, as the viewer, which is then recorded by your specs and translated into cost per mille (1000 impressions/views) or CPM to the airliner.
Bear in mind that airline operators see the attraction as a serious threat and pay premium for subliminal brand placement, in order to retain sustainable customer volume.
[Finger snap/click!] Welcome back to reality, hoping that your imaginative experience inspires wonderful balancing possibilities. Real space tourism may be for the very selected few, but it could be balanced by realistic earth-based virtual earth-and-space tourism experience for all.