You’ve probably never seen growing plants this way before. A team of researchers from the Institute of Science and Technology in Austria have filmed Arabidopsis thaliana (a flowering weed) roots as they grew in extreme close-up 3D. The team did so to demonstrate a method they developed that uses a microscope with lasers and fluorescent lights to automatically track moving minuscule objects invisible to the naked eye. They also used a special lighting system to keep the plants alive during the whole process, so the setup can capture the roots’ cells as they grow and split.
In addition to the lasers and lights, the team placed the plants on a rotating plate to figure out how they’re affected by gravity in the cellular scale. Its results will help scientists figure out the best way to grow plants in space. The team’s method, however, works with organisms other than plants: they even used it to watch cells move around in zebrafish embryos. While they unfortunately didn’t share footage of that experiment, you can watch root cells grow in the video below.