In Bremen, Germany, a 146-meter-high drop tower allows scientists to perform experiments in microgravity. As the name suggests, the tower is designed for experiments to literally drop from top to bottom, allowing for about 9.3 seconds of near-zero gravity.

There are drop towers around the world, but Fallturm Bremen offers the longest drop time of them all—in large part because they use a catapult system to get extra hang time on the way up. When the payload hits the bottom, a load of polystyrene breaks the fall.

In this video, Tom Scott visits the Bremen drop tower, explains the science, and shows us some footage from experiments inside. It's fascinating technology, and every second counts. Don't blink or you'll miss it:

For more on the tower check out this page. For a bit more behind-the-scenes chat, here's a bonus video in which Scott discusses the filming process.

(Image courtesy of CuttyP at the German language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons, modified to add additional area on left and right.)