Bacterial spores appear to shine with potential. Spores like these from the symbiotic termite bacterium Acetonema longum can lay dormant for thousands of years before germinating when conditions become favorable for growth. Spheres appearing dimly lit in this image are spores that have recently germinated and will grow into cells many times larger in size. To create this composition, purified spores measuring only about 1 micrometer in diameter were deposited onto an agarose pad by evaporation. Differential interference contrast illumination gives them their resplendent gleam under the light microscope.