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Measuring the speed of Santa

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the speed of santa

Measuring the speed of Santa

Have you ever thought about the mammoth task that Santa has to complete every year?

And this year there’s the extra complications around quarantine and COVID-19 restrictions…

Let’s have a closer look at the speeds Santa gets up to. Just how does Santa get around the world so quickly?

Let’s simplify it a bit by just looking at delivering to Australia and New Zealand which is a trip of around 25,000km from the North Pole. The joint Aus/NZ population is around 0.3% of the global population, so assuming everyone gets an equal proportion of Santa’s time, he has about 4.8 minutes to get here and do his deliveries before moving on to other countries.  

So to do that, he has to travel around 300,000km/hr (which is pretty fast!).  

How fast is that compared to other fast things?  

The speed of sound is 343m/s so he is travelling at 242 times the speed of sound. The speed of light is 300,000000m/s so he is travelling at 0.00028 times the speed of light (pretty slow to some scientists!)

The fastest man-made object is Helios 2, a space probe used to study the sun which reached top speed of 252,792km/hr – a similar speed to Santa but it needed the sun’s gravity to make it happen!  

The fastest non-Santa humans were the crew of Apollo 10 reaching 11,000m/s.  That’s the slow lane for Santa and his reindeer!

In our next post we’ll look at the payload of his sleigh…i.e. the weight of all those presents! 

Published December 2, 2020

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