As a result of
an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renown scientific
journal - I am pleased to present the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.
1)No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living
organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs,
this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever
2)There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa
doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children,
that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population
Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household,
that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.
3)Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time
zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which
seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that
for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second
to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute
the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get
back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.
Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around
the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our
calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household,
a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of
us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.
This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times
the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle
on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a
conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.
4)The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that
each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh
is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as
overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds.
Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the
normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200
reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh
- - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of
the Queen Elizabeth.
5)353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance
- this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft's re-entering
the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION
joules of energy. Per second.
Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing
the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The
entire reindeer team will be valorised within 4.26 thousandths of a second.
Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater
A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back
of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
Mmmm... but remember kids, when you stop believing in Santa is when you start
getting clothes for Christmas...