• Question: Can you explain to me what rocket science is?

    Asked by gingernut84 to Amelia, Jim, Liz, Prateek, Richard on 23 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Jim Caryl

      Jim Caryl answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Rocket science is basically the study of the physics behind getting a rocket from the surface of the earth, into the atmosphere or space. It is the field of study that is most commonly associated with getting space rockets into space, as well as designing military missiles, but it will also cover fields such as aerospace engineering, which is is the field that designs aeroplanes (amongst other flying machines).

      It is quite a broad discipline that covers everything from the chemistry of rocket fuel and controlled explosions, propulsion, aeronautics/aerodynamics and various other physical calculations required to ensure that you have enough lift to get your rocket off the ground, that your rocket isn’t too light or too heavy, that you rocket is aerodynamic enough to slip through the air, that it is protected from heat at the bottom and top, but can withstand sub-freezing fuel temperature in the middle.

      Because of the large component of physics and mathematics, it’s regarded as a difficult subject, hence the term of ‘rocket science’ as meaning something very difficult.

    • Photo: Amelia Markey

      Amelia Markey answered on 23 Jun 2011:

      I went to school with a few people who went on to study rocket science at university and they say it isn’t actually that difficult…but they are very clever!

      Check out this website and see for yourself: