Is Santa running?

If there is one running fast right now, it’s Santa Claus, in who we almost all ceased to believe, past the age of growing new teeth.

But why did we stop believing in Santa?

The sensitive ones and those who still believe in the old bearded guy dressed in red by Coca-Cola should stop reading now…

So the question is : does Santa exist?

Let’s consider that Santa Claus only takes care of children. There are approximately 2 billion children (under 18) on Earth.

However, since Santa Claus does not visit Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist children (except perhaps in Japan), this reduces his Christmas Eve’s client to 15% of the total : 378 million children.

Let’s consider is an average of 3.5 children per household (which is a lot, especially in occidental homes, where a large proportion of Christians live). That makes 108 million houses, assuming that each includes at least a well-behaved child (which is not so sure, but let’s admit it).

Thanks to the different time zones and the Earth’s rotation, Santa Claus has about 31 hours during the day and Christmas night. Given the 108 million households to visit in 31 hours, this amounts to 967.7 homes per second.

This means that for every household with at least one well-behaved child, Santa Claus, who is still a rather old person, has about a thousandth of a second in order to:
1. park the sled,
2. jump out of it,
3. run to get on the roof,
4. tumble down the chimney,
5. fill the socks,
6. put the gifts around the Christmas tree,
7. taste the few treats left for him,
8. climb back up the chimney (and after the treats it’s less and less easy),
9. jump off the roof,
10. get out of the hole dug in the snow,
11. run to the sled, and
12. move on to the next house.

And all of this within a thousandth of a second.

Assuming that each of these 108 million stops are uniformly distributed on the surface of the Earth (an assumption that we know to be false, of course, but which we will accept as a first approximation), that means approximately 1.4 kilometers between each home.

So Santa run at a pace of at least a thousandth of a second per kilometer, which is not bad for a fur coat dressed old obese guy, who runs a total of more than 150 million kilometers, including the water-stations stops, the selfies, or pee-stops.

Well, his sleigh must move at 1'170 km per second. As a reminder, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses spacecraft, moves at 49 kilometers per second, and an average reindeer can run at its best at 27 kilometers per hour, slightly faster than a Kenyan marathoner.

The load on the sled is also an interesting issue. Assuming that each child receives nothing more than a pair of running-shoes, an isotonic drink and a small box of effort gel (let’s say 1 kg of gifts), the sleigh carries more than 500,000 tons. On Earth, a conventional reindeer can not pull more than 150 kilos, that is only Santa Claus himself. And even assuming that the famous “flying reindeer” is ten times more powerful, you’ll need 360 000 reindeers to pull the sled, which adds to the total moved load an additional 54'000 tons. And this gives a 540km long hitch (Geneva-Paris), not counting the sleigh (considering 2 reindeers side by side, and 3 m long for a reindeer, hitch and spaces included).

So we have almost 600,000 tons traveling at 1'170 kilometers per second, obviously creating a huge resistance in air, which heats up the hitch, the same way that heats a spacecraft entering the earth’s atmosphere, or a marathoner hitting the wall, that is to say, all red.

The two reindeers leading the convoy absorb a heat energy of 14.3 billion joules per second. In short, they flare up instantly, dangerously exposing the next two reindeers. The entire 540km long pack/hitch of 360,000 reindeer is completely sprayed in 4.26 thousandths of second, just the time for Santa to reach the fifth house of his tour. Nothing to worry about anyway, since Santa, moving from 0 to 1'170 km / s in a thousandth of a second, undergoes accelerations up to 17'500 G.

And a 125-kilo Santa Claus (which seems ridiculously thin) would be squeezed to the bottom of the sled by a force of 2'187 tons, which would instantly crush his belly, bones, organs, beard and red hat, and reducing it to a small pile of pink and flickering flesh …

Which is equivalent to hitting the wall before the 30th km

That’s why, if Santa Claus has existed, and if he runs pretty quickly… he’s now dead…


© This demonstration is not mine. It’s a very old e-mail I got in the twentieth century (I do not remember where from), and was a little readapted (but the scientific calculations are not mine (I would be unable, as I barely can calculate the speed / pace ratio with round numbers), and I take no responsibility to the calculation. Thank you to the author).

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