News & Events

“It’s not rocket science! / It’s rocket science to me!”

On Saturday, 18th June at 10.21 a.m. somewhere in Kazakhstan, European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake, will land back on earth after 6 months living on the International Space Station. Tim is British and so he has become a bit of a hero in the UK. He ran the London Marathon in space, created the virtual “Cosmic Classroom” a live TV link-up where more than 40,000 children could listen to him talking about life in space, and has performed hundreds of experiments for researchers in Universities to analyse.

Whenever I see photos of astronauts inside a spaceship or the space station, I’m always amazed at all the wires (“fili”) hanging down and the enormous quantity of buttons to press (“tasti o pulsanti da premere”)… How do astronauts know what all these things do? Space, or rocket science as it is usually called, all looks so complex and you probably have to be very intelligent to understand it!

This is where this week’s idiom comes from. Rocket science seems very difficult and so if we say something is not rocket science we mean it’s very easy, even obvious.

Here are some examples:

  • I put two tents up in my garden this week as my daughter’s friends were coming to stay and it took about 4 hours!! My husband said to me:

“This is crazy! We should be able to put up 2 tents….. It’s not rocket science!”

  • “I’m sure you’ll learn to drive very quickly – It’s not rocket science!”

We can also use it in the positive when we find something very complicated and difficult to understand:

  • “Can you help me change this file from a Word document to JPEG format – it’s all rocket science to me?!

What is or isn’t rocket science for you?

Have a good week and look out for news about Tim Peake’s arrival back on earth!