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Doctor Who Season 8 Christmas Special: "Last Christmas"

Rshadler

1,331 views

So this is about 24 days too late but...

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So, I have question for you.

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I really hope not. I thought I could use the Christmas Special to talk about the physics of Santa's sleigh, since he was a main focus of the episode and my research yielded so interesting results. (If you still believe in Santa, skip to the very end or you will never be the same again)

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Santa has over 300 million Children to deliver presents to and approximately 31 hours- with different time zones taken in to account- to so. IF we use the census and assume an average number of kids per household, the number reduces to approximately 91 million households to stop at. If we did the math and divided the over the 90 million households by 111,600 seconds in 31 hours (31 hours times 3600 seconds in an hour), we would see that Santa needs to make over 820 stops per second. Santa would need to travel over 70 million of miles and at speeds in excess of 600 miles per second in order to make all the stops in one night. That works out to be around 3000 times the speed of light and impossible to achieve with an man made machine thus far.

Moving on, could a person survived travelling at those speeds in an open topped sleigh? Could reindeer move that fast? Would the sleigh survive as well?

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Unfortunately, I have some bad news, the answers to all three questions is a resounding NO. Because it is not just Santa travelling at 650 miles per second, its his sleigh, his reindeer, and at least 300,000 tons of toys. That amount of mass travelling at 650 miles per second would create massive air resistance, which would create friction with and heat up the reindeer very quickly and in a similar fashion to a spacecraft re-entering the atmosphere. The reindeer would absorb a massive amount of heat energy- over 14 QUINTILLION (which is 1x1018 and I just learned of this number) joules to more precise. In effect, the reindeer would catch fire instantaneously and vaporize. Santa would subject to an extreme amount of force, effectively pinning to his sleigh with enough force to squash him. I would imagine his sleigh meets a similar fate as his reindeer. In short, if Santa's sleigh could move that fast and he did try deliver presents to all the good boys and girls, than he only tried once.

Have I ruined your childhood yet?

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Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool, if you avoid the mental image of Santa's sleigh burning up in the atmosphere.

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I'm over doing it with the gifs again, sorry. Anyway, if you want to learn more check out this website, I learned a lot from it and there is some rebuttals to this theory on there as well. Its up to you to make in opinion the theory, so I thought you might like to check out both sides. Thanks for reading!



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