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Christmas Physics


jrv12

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Even though it is well past Christmas, I figured why not use physics to try to prove a myth that many kids believe, the myth of Santa and his reindeer. While Santa is said to have magical abilities that allow him to deliver presents in one night all over the world, let’s pretend that Santa doesn’t have magic and he just obeys the laws of physics.

So, Santa has to visit around 500 million houses in the span of 31 hours (taking into consideration different time zones and the rotation of the Earth) and deliver at least one present to at least one child. This means that Santa has to visit about 4480 houses per second, or spend .0002 seconds at each house. In order to travel fast enough to make this trip in one night, Santa would have to travel at around 6500 mph, which is completely doable (in a rocket). Since Santa would be travelling this fast, he would definitely need some type of heat shield for himself and the reindeer to endure trillions of joules of heat, or else he would just be a flaming ball shooting through the sky. Now, what about all the cookies and milk? Well, these could *easily* be converted into energy to fuel his sleigh using the equation E=mc2.

So, I guess Santa could be real, it’s just not very plausible. It’s much easier to just stick with the Santa has magical abilities thing!

Check out this fascinating article that goes much more in-depth than I do (it uses different numbers than me as well):

https://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/santa/physics.asp

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