Trisolarans are a species native to Trisolaris, the only planet in the Alpha Centauri System. They intend to invade Earth as a substitute for their endangered homeworld, and due to this their civilization as a whole acts as the main antagonist of The Three-Body Problem and its sequels.

Description[edit | edit source]

Anatomy and Physiology[edit | edit source]

No Trisolarans are ever seen at any point in the Remembrance of Earth's Past series. Consequently, most of their physical traits, including their size and general appearance, are unknown. However, they are known to have an ability to completely dehydrate their bodies to deal with Trisolaris' chaotic and hostile climate. In this state, they are bundles of lifeless dry fiber and can survive for centuries or more, but cannot think or act. Additionally, it is known that they communicate via patterns of electromagnetic waves produced directly by their brain as it thinks. This renders speech and thought synonymous for Trisolarans, and they cannot lie to each other. Members of a previous Trisolaran civilization had reflective skin, though it is not known if their modern successors have the same trait.

Additionally, a number of other traits can be inferred. During the run-up to their arrival on Earth, they sought to preserve Earth's cities, implying that they are around the same size as humans. They also intended to inhabit Earth without modifying its atmosphere and biosphere, implying that they can use the same air and food as Earth life forms.

In the semi-canonical Redemption of Time book, Trisolarans are revealed to be extremely small creatures. They are silvery and insectoid, roughly comparable to ants or rice grains in size and shape.

Diet[edit | edit source]

The diet of Trisolarans is not known with precision. However, they are known to practice agriculture, which implies an omnivorous or herbivorous diet. It is also suggested that they cannibalize the remains of dead Trisolarans.

Reproduction and Life Cycle[edit | edit source]

Trisolarans have two sexes, although it is not clear if these sexes can be defined as male or female. To reproduce, two Trisolarans of opposite sex physically merge together, and then separate into three to five offspring. These offspring share some of their parent's memories and personality traits, and as such do not really go through a "childhood" stage of development. Trisolarans have a lifespan of 70-80 Earth years[1], not counting time spent in dehydration, although their world's harsh environment and government ensure that they do not generally live this long.

Homeworld[edit | edit source]

Trisolarans are native to the planet of Trisolaris, the only planet in the Alpha Centauri system. Trisolaris is a terrestrial planet with an erratic orbit around all three suns, resulting in a wildly unstable climate.

Orbit[edit | edit source]

Unlike the real Alpha Centauri system, the stars of the Trisolaris system are subject to the "three-body problem," meaning that their orbits around each other follow no mathematically predictable pattern and the distances between them vary wildly. Consequently, Trisolaris itself is tossed between the three stars like a football, with no consistent "days" or "years."

Atmosphere & Climate[edit | edit source]

Trisolaris' climate varies wildly depending on its location in its solar system, with no rhyme or reason. During so-called Stable Eras, the planet is in a stable orbit around one star, and it generally has a habitable Earth-like climate. During Chaotic Eras, during which it roams wildly throughout the system, its climate reaches uninhabitable extremes. Its atmosphere may freeze into snow, or its surface may turn molten. The atmosphere appears to consist mainly of nitrogen and oxygen, much like that of Earth.

Technology[edit | edit source]

Trisolarans possess technology far more advanced than that of Earth. They are capable of precisely manipulating individual subatomic particles and even of altering physical constants within set regions of space. However, they are still bound by certain physical laws, and cannot surpass the speed of light.

Trisolaran artifacts often have mirrored, almost perfectly reflective exteriors. In some cases, this is an intrinsic property of the materials used, but it is also a deliberate aesthetic choice.

Sophons[edit | edit source]

Sophons are a type of sentient probe created by Trisolaris, made from single protons. To create a sophon, a proton is "unfolded" into two dimensions and engraved with circuitry that uses the strong interaction rather than electromagnetism. The resulting sophon is self-aware, capable of movement at near light speed, and able to perceive its surroundings on both the macro and micro scale. Each sophon is quantum-entangled with one other sophon, enabling instant communication between Earth and the Trisolaran Fleet. They serve primarily as nigh-omnipresent surveillance devices, and also sabotage particle accelerator experiments in order to hinder humanity's development of physics.

Droplets[edit | edit source]

Droplets are unmanned, teardrop-shaped probes, and the first Trisolaran spacecraft encountered by humanity. They are made of metal modified with an effect that extends the strong interaction to ranges similar to those of chemical bonds. The resulting substance is perfectly smooth and mirrored. Additionally, it is impossibly hard and durable, allowing a droplet to crash into targets at hundreds of kilometers per second with no harm to itself. Because of this property, droplets are often used as weapons, both against spaceships and ground targets. They are propelled by a "propulsion halo" nearly as hot as the Sun's core, which is most likely propelled by matter-antimatter annihilation.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Trisolarans never appear physically in the Three-Body Problem books, leaving their appearance unknown beyond piecemeal details and inferences. However, they are physically described in the semi-canonized fan novel Redemption of Time as tiny insectoid creatures vaguely resembling ants.

[1] Chapter 33 "Trisolaris: Sophon"

85000 Trisolaran hours = about 8.6 Earth years

In the book it reads "The life expectancy of Trisolarans ranged between 700 000 to 800 000 Trisolaran hours".

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