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We've been let out of the studio, and the UK, as part of the Guardian's New Europe month.

The team has been tracking down some of the most exciting science in Germany. We visited Darmstadt, Bremen, Berlin and Cologne to investigate everything from microgravity, a famous Archaeopteryx and ageing fruit flies. We even spoke to a satellite.

We also looked at the nuts and bolts of how science works in Germany: the funding and how the various institutes fit together.

First on our itinerary was the Natural History Museum in Berlin, home of the Mona Lisa of fossils: an exquisitely preserved specimen of the earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx.

In Bremen at the Zarm drop tower we used a pneumatic catapult to create microgravity. We also dropped in on a researcher controlling part of the International Space Station.

Meanwhile, Alok managed to get into the control room of ESOC, part of the European Space Agency, where he communicated with CryoSat-2 and touched some space debris.

Watch the first in our series of videos from the trip, filmed inside 'Europe's Houston'.

Ian visited Cologne to explore the newest Max Planck Institute, which investigates the biology of ageing by teasing apart the genetics of fruit flies, worms and mice.

Brian Cox somehow gets a mention.

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