Now that the holidays are here, only one thing should be on
everyone’s mind; how many Christmas cookies will be waiting when we go home for
break. While thinking about how I am going to gain about one hundred pounds
from all the cookies I am going to eat, I was left wondering about the man, the
myth, the legend, Santa Claus. How much
weight does Santa put on during his Christmas trip? How does this affect his
flight?

First, I thought of Santa going on a test flight. Assuming he has a mass of 136 kg, his sleigh
has a mass of 455 kg, his bag of presents is 1,000,000 kg (he has a lot of toys)
and the reindeer have a combined mass of 1,629 kg, the total mass of the system
would be 1,002,220 kg. It has been estimated that Santa travels at about 1.046
x 10

^{6}m/s^{1}. I also assume Santa has a cruising altitude of 9144m. From this, the work of the reindeer pulling the sleigh would be (assuming the sleigh is traveling in one direction for one trip around the Earth):
W

_{NC}= ΔKE + ΔPE
W

_{NC}= ½ m(v_{f}^{2}– v_{o}^{2}) + mg(h_{f}– h_{o})
W

_{NC }= ½ (1,002,220kg)(1.046 x 10^{6}m/s)^{2}+ (1,002,220kg)(9.8m/s^{2})(9144m)
W

_{NC }= 5.48 x 10^{17}J + 8.98 x 10^{10}J
W

_{NC}= 5.48 x 10^{17}J
The force required for this would be:

F(4.01 x 10

^{7}m) = 5.48 x 10^{17}J
F = 1.37 x 10

^{10}N
Now let’s take into account the cookies. It has been
calculated that if every home Santa visited left out one chocolate cookie and one
glass of milk, he would gain 6,000,000lbs or about 3,000,000kg

^{1 }if all the calories he consumed were transformed directly to added weight!!
This incredible increase in mass without a decrease in
velocity would require the work done and consequently the force exerted to
increase exceptionally as well.

Taking this all into account, the friction from air on the
Santa system would be so great that no creature or toy could possibly survive.

Luckily, Santa has some Christmas magic on his side that
allows him to defy the laws of physics.

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