Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How does Santa make it around the world in one night?

        Culture | Christmas

Matter and Antimatter
An antimatter spacecraft like this one could some day shorten a trip to Mars from 11 months to one month.
An antimatter spacecraft like this one could some day shorten a trip to Mars from 11 months to one month.
Photo courtesy NASA

Antimatter is exactly what it sounds like -- the opposite of matter. 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. You can read How Antimatter Spacecraft Will Work for more information.

NASA, for instance hopes to build one that would get us to Mars in a matter of weeks [source: NASA]. But Santa's way ahead of the game. One reason it's hard for us to build a matter-antimatter engine is 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 annihilated.

Fortunately, we can make antimatter ourselves with big atom smashers like CERN. If we could find a way to safely contain antimatter, we'd be on our way to Mars in about a month. We think that Santa could have a large stock of antimatter in the North Pole -- could that be why Canada, Russia and the U.S. are all scrambling to claim the Arctic?

Another big problem with antimatter propulsion drives is the intense amount of gamma radiation released from the matter-antimatter collision. Since radiation is very harmful, it could put Santa at risk. So we surmise that he must have a closet full of special lead-free red suit to block any surrounding radiation.

Read the next page for even more possible evidence of Santa and his sleigh's existence.


More to Explore