How does antimatter help Santa’s sleigh?

Santamory has the answer!

santamory2Hello, Santamory here! You know, the one in charge of all the science and technology here at the North Pole.

For all of you doubters out there wondering how Santa Claus can make it across the world in one night, have you ever watched those science fiction films where star ships travel faster than the speed of light?

We all know that those kinds of space craft are made up – but the idea of traveling at superluminal speeds – that’s faster than the speed of light to you and me – is a very real concept.

Objects that take up space and have mass are called matter. Everything around us is made up of matter. Mrs Claus’ Christmas Cake is made up of matter – quite of lot of it Excuse me! Well, there’s something that’s the opposite of matter – it’s called Antimatter. Antimatter particles are like mirror images of normal particles, with the same mass but opposite charges. When matter and antimatter collide, they annihilate each other, creating a complete conversion of matter into energy.

NASA has been looking at using antimatter technology to build a spacecraft that could get to Mars in a matter of weeks . So why don’t they exist already you might wonder? Well, one reason is that it hard to build a matter-antimatter engine because of the lack of antimatter in the universe – scientists believe that during the Big Bang, there was more matter than antimatter, and most of the antimatter was destroyed.

So until a substantial source of anti-matter can be found, you guys are just going to have to travel slightly slower.

But you want to know a secret? Santa’s able to use a little bit of antimatter to give his sleigh a boost.

And how do we do it? Well, there a reason why we live at the North Pole. Whenever there is a solar flare – that’s a burst of energy from the sun – the solar ions tend to gather here. That’s what makes the beautiful Northern Lights.

Using a little ion collector the elves knocked up – we just capture some of them and BOOM we have a little magical antimatter to help Santa on his way! And jolly good stuff it is too! Just don’t tell NASA!

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The Science of Christmas with support from Institute of Physics, The Royal Aeronautical Society and The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

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