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 could produce a breathable atmosphere within hollow spaces in the comet (or 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 or a shell grown by a mollusc.

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

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 fictionEdit

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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Basu, SK (2007). Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Astrophysics. Global Vision Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 9788182202207.
  2. ^ Westfahl, Gary (2009). Islands in the Sky: The Space Station Theme in Science Fiction Literature. Wildside. p. 209. ISBN 9781434403568.
  3. ^ Rose, Mike (2011). 250 Indie Games You Must Play. Taylor & Francis. p. 265. ISBN 9781439875759.

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