I feel as though I put too much work into this, although the conclusion to such a pressing question was well worthwhile.

As of present, there are no known species of reindeer capable of flight. That said, however, there are estimated to be 300,000 species of organisms yet to be classified. While most of these species include insects, fungi, and bacterium, the possibility of flying reindeer must not be completely ruled out.

Research suggests there are approximately two billion people living under the age of 18 currently. Fortunately, Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, and so his Christmas workload is henceforth reduced to roughly 15% of the total -- 380 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). Given an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, the total comes out to 108 million homes -- presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

Thanks to different time zones and Earth's rotation, Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with (assuming he travels in a logical east-to-west fashion). Simple calculations work out to 967.7 svps (Santa visits per second). That is to say that for every Christian residence with at least one good child, Santa has approximately 1/1000th of a second to park his sleigh, unload his gifts, compress his size and slide down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the selected goods under the tree, consume snacks, milk, and treats left out for him on the table, ascend the chimney, re-enter sleigh and reach the next house. Assuming that these 108 million stops are evenly distributed around Earth (which, of course, is false, but will be accepted for calculation purposes), we may assume, about 0.78 miles per qualified residence, a total trip of 75.5 million miles -- excluding bathroom stops or breaks. As such, Santa's sleigh is moving at 3,000 times the speed of sound (650 miles per second). For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, travels 27.4 miles per second, while a conventional reindeer can only run a mere 15 miles per hour.

Examination of Santa's sleigh payload yields yet another interesting element to our analysis. Assuming that each child receives no more than a ~2 lb. gift, the sleigh must carry over 500 thousand tons of luggage -- not counting the actual Santa. In comparison, a conventional reindeer may pull no more than 300 pounds of weight. Granting that even the elusive flying reindeer could pull ten times such a luggage, the job couldn't be done with eight (or nine for that matter). Santa would need 360,000 of them. Thus, the mass of the haul is increased, not counting the weight of the gargantuan sleigh -- another 54,000 tons (seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth -- not the monarch).

Our newly assumed 600,000 tons of mass traveling at 650 miles per second would create an enormous air resistance. The reindeer, with heat resistance remotely resembling any other natural organism, would be heated in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would each absorb approximately 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second. Consequently, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously; exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake (the kind most children would wake up to). The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or roughly the same time Santa reaches his fifth stop. Not that it matters, of course, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from rest to 650 miles per second in 1/1000 seconds, would be subjected to forces of 17,500 g's. A slim, 250 pound Santa would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, that would crush his bones and organs (natural or otherwise), and reduce him to a smoldering blob of goo spontaneously.

If Santa did exist, he doesn't anymore.

As of present, there are no known species of reindeer capable of flight. That said, however, there are estimated to be 300,000 species of organisms yet to be classified. While most of these species include insects, fungi, and bacterium, the possibility of flying reindeer must not be completely ruled out.

Research suggests there are approximately two billion people living under the age of 18 currently. Fortunately, Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, and so his Christmas workload is henceforth reduced to roughly 15% of the total -- 380 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). Given an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, the total comes out to 108 million homes -- presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

Thanks to different time zones and Earth's rotation, Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with (assuming he travels in a logical east-to-west fashion). Simple calculations work out to 967.7 svps (Santa visits per second). That is to say that for every Christian residence with at least one good child, Santa has approximately 1/1000th of a second to park his sleigh, unload his gifts, compress his size and slide down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the selected goods under the tree, consume snacks, milk, and treats left out for him on the table, ascend the chimney, re-enter sleigh and reach the next house. Assuming that these 108 million stops are evenly distributed around Earth (which, of course, is false, but will be accepted for calculation purposes), we may assume, about 0.78 miles per qualified residence, a total trip of 75.5 million miles -- excluding bathroom stops or breaks. As such, Santa's sleigh is moving at 3,000 times the speed of sound (650 miles per second). For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, travels 27.4 miles per second, while a conventional reindeer can only run a mere 15 miles per hour.

Examination of Santa's sleigh payload yields yet another interesting element to our analysis. Assuming that each child receives no more than a ~2 lb. gift, the sleigh must carry over 500 thousand tons of luggage -- not counting the actual Santa. In comparison, a conventional reindeer may pull no more than 300 pounds of weight. Granting that even the elusive flying reindeer could pull ten times such a luggage, the job couldn't be done with eight (or nine for that matter). Santa would need 360,000 of them. Thus, the mass of the haul is increased, not counting the weight of the gargantuan sleigh -- another 54,000 tons (seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth -- not the monarch).

Our newly assumed 600,000 tons of mass traveling at 650 miles per second would create an enormous air resistance. The reindeer, with heat resistance remotely resembling any other natural organism, would be heated in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would each absorb approximately 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second. Consequently, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously; exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake (the kind most children would wake up to). The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or roughly the same time Santa reaches his fifth stop. Not that it matters, of course, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from rest to 650 miles per second in 1/1000 seconds, would be subjected to forces of 17,500 g's. A slim, 250 pound Santa would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, that would crush his bones and organs (natural or otherwise), and reduce him to a smoldering blob of goo spontaneously.

If Santa did exist, he doesn't anymore.

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