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

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See more Christmas pictures.
2007 HowStuffWorks

For all of you Santa Claus doubters out there wondering how the big guy can make it across the world in one night, take a good look at "Star Trek." Although the U.S.S. Enterprise is a fictional spaceship from a fictional television show, the idea of traveling at superluminal speeds -- faster than the speed of light -- throughout space is a very real concept.

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When Einstein wrote down his famous E = MC² formula, he was saying that mass is energy in a very concentrated form. If you could take matter and convert it into energy, it could create an incredible source of power. Think about it -- the C2 in that equation is the speed of light (300,000 miles per second) times the speed of light. Even if you had a tiny bit of mass -- the letter "M" in the equation -- the letter "E" on the other side of that equation can be really big. So how do you make that "E" big enough to travel around the world in one night -- on a sleigh with nine or more reindeer, for that matter?

Althou­gh no one may ever know for sure just how Santa operates, we at HowStuffWorks have what we think are the most logical explanations for how the big guy accomplishes all that he does: science and technology. And we think that Santa could have mastered the power of antimatter, the same concept NASA is hoping to use to build its own version of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Santa and his elves would have to outfit his sleigh with a Stardust Antimatter Propulsion Engine. This device would allow Santa to deliver toys around the world in one night and be back to the North Pole in time for a Christmas Day feast. So what is antimatter, and what makes it so important in Santa's sleigh? In the next section, we'll look at how Santa could be using antimatter in his sleigh.­ ­