Newswise — This Valentine’s Day, Dr. Phil La Porta suggests you don’t tell your significant other that you love him/her “to the Moon and back.”

The physics instructor at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, knows of what he speaks.

“Occasionally, I've heard the phrase, ‘I love you to the Moon and back.’ I think this one is pretty silly. First of all, it's old news. We've been sending humans around and onto the moon since the late 60s. Also, evidenced by the dozen astronauts who have walked on the moon, we can do it with relative ease. Lastly, it's the closest celestial body to Earth so, it's not like you're reaching very far,” La Porta said.

He added, “Consider all we've done since going to the Moon. We've successfully sent several spacecraft to explore the surface of Mars, and that's about 150 times further away. Late last year, the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn ended in spectacular fashion, and that was more than 3,000 times further away than the Moon. Lastly, there's the New Horizons probe which flew by the non-planet Pluto in 2015. Care to guess how much further Pluto is than the Moon? Almost 20,000 times further!”

La Porta isn’t trying to replace romance with astronomy. “Believe it or not, I've spoken my fair share of ridiculous romantic phrases. I am married after all. I just don't think that you should be saying, ‘I love you to the most easily accessible extra-terrestrial object where a dozen people have already been and back.’”

(La Porta earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Muhlenberg College and a master’s and doctorate in physics from Lehigh University.)