posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 01:43 PM
1. Flying Reindeer
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 seen.
2. Children
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. Timing
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. Weight
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 anoint, 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. Speed
353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance -- this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts
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 vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity.
A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
Conclusion
If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.
Foundations
This inquiry is based on the premise that there is only one Santa Claus. The calculations work out more realistically if you assume some form of
parallel processing. A thousand Santa’s (1 kilosanta) or a million (a megasanta) or more, working parallel, could perform the same number of visits in
the same allotted time with less advanced technology (and fewer vaporized reindeer).