Cosmic Backyard

Cosmic Backyard is an Inverse series that explores cutting-edge research looking into the depths of the cosmos. This work is pushing the boundaries of our understanding of the universe, and our place in it.

Webb Space Telescope image
NASA
cosmic backyard

Future Telescopes With Liquid Mirrors Could Peer at Alien Worlds in Detail

ByCharles Q. Choi

A project called FLUTE is looking into self-healing space telescopes.

Cosmic Backyard

This Mysterious Interstellar Object Could Contain The Universe's Darkest Secrets

ByCharles Q. Choi

Fragments of extinct solar systems and planets could be visiting us regularly — these scientists think they know how to find them.

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Space

Lakes On Saturn’s Moon Titan May Be Sculpted By Waves of Literal Liquid Methane

ByKiona Smith

A team of geologists and planetary scientists modeled the geometry of wave-battered shorelines on Earth, then compared them to the lakes and seas of Saturn’s moon Titan.

Space

A Weird Final Test for Boeing’s Starliner Uncovered the Likely Cause of Several Recently-Failed Thrusters

ByDoris ElĂ­n Urrutia

Sometimes you got to push against a million-pound structure in space.

Space

June’s Summer Solstice Strawberry Moon Will Be Weirder Than Usual

ByKiona Smith

This month's full moon will be dimmer and lower in the sky than usual.

Science

An Astrophysicist Reveals A Major Problem We’ll Encounter If Humans Colonize the Moon

ByMartin Elvis and The Conversation

For decades, astronomers had ignored the Moon as a potential site for telescopes because it was simply infeasible to build them there.

Space

From Urine (Yes, Urine) to Helium: The Most Common and Bizarre Leaks During Space Travel

ByDoris ElĂ­n Urrutia

Hours after Starliner launched, teams detected helium leaks on several of the spacecraft’s thrusters.

Space

Boeing’s Starliner Will Attempt A First-Of-Its-Kind Landing For A U.S. Capsule

ByDoris ElĂ­n Urrutia

Watch out for Starliner’s unique landing as early as next week.

Space

A Famous Star Trek World Is Actually A Fancy Galactic Illusion

ByKiona Smith

What astronomers thought might have been a planet in the exact location of Spock’s homeworld was actually an illusion all along.

Space

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Captured The Eerie Aftermath of A Solar Eruption Blasting Mars

ByDoris ElĂ­n Urrutia

An X-class solar flare represents the most powerful solar eruptions.

Space

Elusive Fast Radio Bursts In Space Probably Come From the Most Ordinary Galaxies

ByKiona Smith

A recent study traced 28 fast radio bursts to very average galaxies, with unremarkable magnetic fields and very little drama.

Space

A Radio Telescope Captured the Noise Humanity Leaks Into Space

ByKiona Smith

ROLSES had a bumpy ride aboard the Odysseus Lander earlier this year, but it still pulled off some cool science.