The Science!!! Of Santa Claus
Dashing through the snow,
At 1,600 times the speed of sound,
Through the fields we go,
Exploding all the way.
Santa Claus, I don’t think I need to explain who that is. You know, Elf-enslaver, sleigh driver, super spy, and master practitioner of breaking and entering. What old Saint Nick is probably best known for though, is his sleigh and reindeer, Dancer, Prancer, Dasher, Donner, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Rudolph, and Blitzen.
I was thinking about what I’m going to be doing this Christmas, mostly hiding from my little brother, when I wondered “How fast would Santa Claus have to travel to bring presents to everybody?” And that’s the kind of pointless, stupid question I answer in my free time, instead of going outside, or socializing.
Right out the gate I had a problem trying to find data for the amount of people who celebrate Christmas, or a form of Christmas, did you know there are 37 different versions of Santa from all over the world? So I had to just use America, so if you live anywhere else, then you must be on the naughty list.
Now I have to lay out the parameters, or the conditions, of our little thought experiment. In North America there are 323,130,000 people (As of a census in 2016) and for the purpose of our experiment, let’s assume every single one of them believes in Santa, and is a perfect little angel (Ha-Ha.) The USA has a surface area of 3,718,948 Square miles, so if they all spread out evenly, there would be 86.8 people per square mile. That’s a lot of people (Trust me, I quadruple checked.) I assumed that Santa has a maximum of 3 hours for America, leaving 9 hours for the rest of the world. Santa and his sleigh are invulnerable, and, reindeer can fly, that one’s kinda important, but that’s all you’ll need to know for now.
The equation for speed is Speed = Distance/Time
So we put in our distance of 3,718,448 and divide it by 3 hours, which gives us… 1,239,482.6 Mph… That’s all? Don’t get me wrong, that’s nothing to sneeze at, but it’s not nearly as big as I thought it would be. That’s still 1,614.3612 * the speed of sound, but I thought I’d be getting into numbers that would break my calculator, like in The Science!!! Of The Hulk.
I don’t really know what to do now, I had my expectations all the way up there, so I feel kinda weird -WAIT! I forgot about Time Dilation and particle physics!
Time Dilation is a difference in time measured by two or more observers, due to a large gravitational force, or velocity. If I take two clocks, set at exactly the same time, and launch one into space, travelling at incredibly high speeds, and I leave the other here on Earth, then there is going to be a notable difference in their times. This happens because velocity, speed with direction, distorts and alters space and time. At the speed Santa’s traveling, time around him starts to slow, it’s not by a huge amount, only a few seconds of difference, but that’s still a few seconds into the future.
This doesn’t really apply here, seeing as in this experiment, Santa is invulnerable, but at the speeds Santa Claus would be reaching, the smallest grain of dust or tiny insect, would act like a bullet. This is a real danger astronauts and satellites face while in orbit, the ISS (International Space Station) travels at an average of 17,227 MPH, at these speeds a fleck of paint can pass through metal as if it were made of butter!
Santa is moving so fast that the air molecules in front of the sleigh don’t have time to move out of the way, and thus become trapped. This would create a vacuum behind the sleigh, and the surrounding air would rush in to fill the empty space, producing a deafening crashing noise. Forget jingle bells, you would be lucky to escape an encounter with Santa with your sense of hearing intact.
In front of the sleigh, the trapped air molecules are forced so close together that they undergo fusion. Nuclear fusion is what occurs when two molecules crash into each other and release huge amounts of energy, to help you visualize this, nuclear fusion is what powered the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Santa would be creating nuclear explosions wherever he went, that isn’t snow you’re shoveling out of your driveway, that’s radioactive fallout and cremated reindeer.
And even if you somehow manage to avoid having your face melted off by the fires hot enough to melt rock, then you’re still not safe. After The Fat man and Little boy, bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there were bodies discovered with no visible injuries, no lethal wounds. Upon testing, it was discovered that the intense… I was going to say sound, but at some point a wave of deadly pressure stops being a sound, and just starts being terrifying. Anyway, upon testing it was discovered the shockwave alone had killed them.
Christmas is NOT a time for joy and celebration, it’s a time for hiding in fallout shelters, wearing military grade earplugs, and praying that you’ll survive the night.
This is what I love doing in my free time: ruining your childhoods.
Just for fun, I’m going to figure out how much Santa’s gift bag weighs. We’re only going to be using North America again, more census data and such. I’m assuming each present is 7.5lbs. As stated above, there are 323,130,000 people in the US, so we just multiply 323,130,000 by our 7.5lbs of presents and we get a gift bag weighing- 2,423,475,000lbs! That’s 274,832.7 African Elephants! Santa has to be the human equivalent of a Greek demigod!
I wonder how he fits that bag down the chimneys?
Note- Can I just say how creepy Santa Claus is? Now that I’m older (AKA more cynical), and I can think about this jolly ninja rationally, he turns out to be… Less than a savory character. Let me lay this out for you, an old man, whose identity is hidden by a heavy winter coat and beard, sneaks into your house through your chimney, places boxes full of stuff under your Christmas tree, and steals your milk and cookies. Yeah, I’ll just let that sink in for a moment. And that’s not even mentioning that Saint Nick, was originally based off the Norse god of war and death, Odin. You’re letting the god ofwar and death into your house, if you get a Seax or Hatchet this Christmas, then I told you so. (The whole ‘being a Norse god’ thing explains the 274,832.7 Elephants.)
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