How fast would Father Christmas have to fly to visit every child in the world?
It's no small feat to travel 160,000,000km, to visit 200 million children, in 800 million homes, in only 34 hours... Luckily Santa has magic on his side.
Asked by: Anonymous
According to Arnold Pompos of Purdue University, Santa would have to travel a total of 160,000,000km – further than the distance from the Earth to the Sun – to visit 200 million children in 800 million homes spread over 3x1013 m2 of land around the world. He would have about 10 hours, from 8pm to 6am, to deliver the presents. Luckily, children happen to be spread across a wide range of time zones, buying Santa an additional 24 hours.
Even so, covering this distance in 34 hours is certainly no mean feat. Crunching the figures, we get a speed of 4,705,882km/h, far slower than the speed of light, but still fast enough that the air resistance is likely to vaporise Santa, along with all the children’s gifts… if he wasn’t riding a magic sleigh.
James is staff writer at BBC Science Focus magazine. He especially enjoys writing about wellbeing and psychology.