Dyson tree

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image icon Artist's concept of a spherical Dyson tree
Freeman Dyson in 2005

A Dyson tree is a hypothetical genetically engineered plant (perhaps resembling a tree) capable of growing inside a comet, suggested by the physicist Freeman Dyson.[1] Plants may be able to produce a breathable atmosphere within the hollow spaces of the comet (or maybe even within the plants themselves), utilising solar energy for photosynthesis and cometary materials for nutrients, thus providing self-sustaining habitats for humanity in the outer solar system analogous to a greenhouse in space, a shell grown by a mollusc or the actions of thermogenic plants, such as the skunk cabbage or the voodoo lily.[2]

A Dyson tree might consist of a few main trunk structures growing out from a comet nucleus, branching into limbs and foliage that intertwine, forming a spherical structure possibly dozens of kilometers across.

Dyson trees in science fiction[edit]

Dyson trees are mentioned a number of times in science fiction, beginning in the 1980s:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Basu, SK (2007). Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Astrophysics. Global Vision Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 9788182202207.
  2. ^ Lyra, Wladimir. "Living in a comet: How to build a Dyson treehouse". Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  3. ^ Westfahl, Gary (2009). Islands in the Sky: The Space Station Theme in Science Fiction Literature. Wildside. p. 209. ISBN 9781434403568.
  4. ^ Sagan, Carl; Druyan, Ann (1985). Comet (1st ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-394-54908-8.
  5. ^ Swanwick, Michael (1988). Vacuum flowers. New York: Ace Books. ISBN 0-441-85876-7. OCLC 20956579.
  6. ^ Moffitt, Donald (2003). The Genesis quest. New York: Ibooks. ISBN 0-7434-5833-8. OCLC 51676877.
  7. ^ Moffitt, Donald (1988). Second Genesis. Sphere. ISBN 0-7474-0016-4. OCLC 18982814.
  8. ^ Baxter, Stephen (2000). Space. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-225771-8. OCLC 43718099.
  9. ^ "Welcome to the Orion's Arm Universe Project". www.orionsarm.com. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  10. ^ "Transhuman Space". www.sjgames.com. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  11. ^ "Tenchi Muyo OVA Collector's Edition Review • Anime UK News". Anime UK News. 2017-08-04. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  12. ^ "The Dirty Pair: Run From the Future (Volume)". Comic Vine. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  13. ^ Rose, Mike (2011). 250 Indie Games You Must Play. Taylor & Francis. p. 265. ISBN 9781439875759.

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