Physics of Santa Claus

Good old Santa man gets a lot of crap for the supposed “impracticality” of his whole gift delivery scheme. While I would argue his streak of home invasions are of far more concern, there is some credence to the whole “breaking the laws of physics argument”.  So let’s examine the science of Santa Claus.

Strike one: flying caribou
Strike one: flying caribou

Alright so Santa here is on a mission to deliver presents to every kid on Christmas. He only has one night to deliver all those presents, but accounting for the spin of the Earth he has in the neighborhood 34 hours to distribute his gifts. Now there 4 billion kids in the world, however Christmas is a christian holiday, so suck it muslims. That means Santa only has to deliver packages to about 378 million children. There are an average of about 3.5 kids per house, but for argument’s sake let’s bump that up to 4 kids per house.

Mostly because I feel bad for him
Mostly because I feel bad for him

That works out to 94.5 million households, or 767.5 stops per second. A paltry pace, but not impossible. Blah blah blah, math blah blah blah, going by this site, Santie would have to travel around 5,000 mph.

The fastest plane of all time only managed 4,500 mph
The fastest plane of all time only managed 4,500 mph

Now let’s talk about presents. We’ll assume Santa gives each child one present each weighing an average of one pound. However you have to account for bad children. Using world crime statistics we’ll assume that of the 378 million kids, 426,762 are on the naughty list for robbery, another 915,894 for aggravated assault, and 56,700 for murder. All told that’s a total of 1,435,356 kids getting coal this year, which we’ll estimate to weigh about .25 pounds. If we sum up all those presents we get a grand total of 376,923,483 pounds or 188,461.7 tons of presents.

Or 57 Saturn V's
Or 57 Saturn V’s

Ok so Mr. Claus has to travel blisteringly fast, with an utterly massive payload in order to deliver all those gifts. In fact traveling at that speed would require 13.55 petajoules (1 x 10^15) of energy, or about as much as a 3.1 megaton nuclear bomb. Traveling that fast the friction caused by air resistance would cause the reindeer to combust, with the resulting explosion having a diameter upwards of a few kilometers. Assuming the fireball hasn’t totally consumed Santa Claus, the G-Forces alone would pin him to the back of the sleigh with the force of several hundred tons. So not only does Santa have an impossibly difficult task ahead of him, but he also faces almost certain death. But you forget, Santa has magic, and what you call magic, I call science!

Didn’t you know Bill Nye was in Street Fighter?


Ok first thing’s first, we need to keep Santa from exploding. Luckily for him atmospheric heating is an issue we aerospace engineers face every damn day! Hell 5,o00 mph is nothing, the Space Shuttle clocked in at 17,500 mph! All Santa needs is a good old fashioned heat shield. Now Santa won’t go boom. Now as for those flying reindeer, they gotta go. 9 horse-power is great, but Santa needs more like 142 million horse-power. No current propulsion system can provide that kind of power for 34 hours straight so we’ve hit a road block.

Aww, now he’s sad

But all is not lost. I have two possible solutions. Idea 1: Rockets. Living at the North Pole means Santa can very easily enter what’s called a polar orbit (because it goes over the poles). The cool thing about a polar orbit is it flies over every corner of the globe. So all Santa has to do is fly all those presents up into Orbit, and then drop them over the houses of each kid. It would require some really advanced targeting systems, and the equivalent 1,450 Saturn V rockets to get all those presents into orbit, but this is the same guy who managed to manufacture 370 million pounds of presents, so I think he can find time to build a few thousand rockets.

Really puts a new spin on Rods from the Gods

Idea 2:Santa Claus has been around a while, in fact the original Santa Claus has long been dead, assuming 5 generations of Clauses, and also assuming inbreeding has not made them all horribly disfigured, that leaves upwards 150 Clauses to deliver christmas presents each year, meaning each only has to travel at an average pace of…33 mph! They still have to deliver a lot of presents (2,512,823 lb each), but that’s manageable. In fact if they upgraded the fleet from reindeer-drawn sleighs to say B-2 Bombers they could deliver all those presents with hours to spare.

Merry Christmas Motherfucker


On the Fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

4 nice texts

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Not sure what that has to do with anything but whatever