The year is 1960. The man is David Latimer. All he had was a huge glass bottle, some dirt, and a seed. Just to see what would happen.
Well now, the bottle looks like this.
Latimer first filled the bottle up with compost all those decades ago and lowered a spiderworts seedling into the dirt using a wire. After packing it in and watering it, he left it in a sunny corner of his house and plugged it up.
What's truly amazing is that despite being cut off from outside air, the bottle houses its own ecosystem.
It all works through photosynthesis, which you may recall from school or that episode of Spongebob.
Oxygen and moisture build up in the glass bottle and "rains" right back down onto the plants. It's like a miniature version of earth and it's pretty damn awesome.
The craziest part is that the last time Latimer watered the plant was 1972.
He had no idea the plant would flourish as much as it has. At 80 years old, he has to be hella proud of his creation and it seems like he is - because he's passing it along to his grown children, who better not ever think of giving this thing up.
And if you want to get in on this hot terrarium action, check out the tutorial here.