This is an honourary entrance into @suesa's Science Challenge
I was sitting around thinking, why would Rudolf have a red nose? He's a deer, they have black noses. Even if it was bleeding, it wouldn't 'shine so bright' that one could guide a sleigh at night.
Then I started wondering about the noise. All these reindeer landing on rooftops with those clunky hooves would wake everybody up and the secret of Santa would be exposed. But it doesn't. Why, does he drug us all with chemtrails? Is that what all that's about?
Then a whole range of problems arose; Speed, weight, power... I starting questioning the validity of reindeer being the primary mode of transport for every gift in the entire planet on Christmas.
Then I realized what was actually going on. Santa isn't magical, he's just way ahead of his time!.
Think about it. What are he and his elves doing ALL year for this one day, making gifts? Nonsense, they all come from China and everybody knows it. There must be something else they're making...
Right?? I think Santa is simply a technical maestro, unwilling to share his knowledge with the world.
But mobbs, drones are noisier, less powerful, slower and less capable of carrying so much weight than the reindeer!
Maybe, but the front one could easily shine a red light so bright to guide the sleigh at night. My claim is that many hundreds of years ago, people saw a big ol' shining light in the sky from drone #1, and just made up superstitious nonsense about deer because they have nothing better to do. I'm here to purport the truth. So all I need to do is overcome the challenges that are obviously making you readers skeptical.
Drones are typically pretty small. This is a problem when you're carrying so much weight. But unlike the 8 reindeer, drones are disposable, and drones are limitless. Why would you use 8 drones when you can simply use a drone swarm
This is not an unheard of thing. China is already working on drone swarms as a cheap alternative to surpassing the US as a global superpower. A huge fan of building the country based on dystopian sci-fi movie concepts, the country plan to create intelligent, autonomous drone swarms that can coordinate in real time with each other, as well as make decisions quicker and more effectively than human pilots could dream of. Decisions like killing civilians, for example. So far China has 'only' managed to get 119 drones in the air but the plan is to make thousands, cheaper than any one US drone.
This, if you ask me, would be the obvious solution to their small size, and with AI enabled, would overcome any wind and weather, birds and the like without a problem. But having so many drones leads us to an obvious problem:
We have obviously overcome the issue of heavy hooves slamming on the rooftops, but a single Christmas drone is pretty damn loud, so Santa must have come up with a solution to the thousands that he must have dragging him around. Perhaps my idea needs some refining to match his success.
Drones themselves don't have to be silent, per se. The most obvious ability drones have that reindeer lack is the ability to hover. By hovering at a sufficient distance above the ground, humans would be undisturbed by even the largest of swarms.
But even so, multiple little propellers are heard well over 500 feet in the air, so Santa would need to figure out how to get down, unless he's a particularly good shot when it comes to chimney-tossing, which I doubt. But to minimize this issue, Santa could look at some optimization to further silence the drones.
Humans have already started on this too. By looking carefully at the propellers aerodynamic shape, increasing the size and decreasing the speed, as well as using passive or even active noise cancellation technology around them, current drones of humans can ensure silence as low as 500 feet. Santa could easily accomplish more, thus lowering the threshold of silence to, let's say, 100 feet?
One thing drones can't seem to overcome is speed. A billion little drones are still going to travel the same general top speed no matter what you do, and the inherent, helicopter design is limiting. In fact, the fastest helicopter of all can reach a frankly astonishing 472 km/h, but I wouldn't count on little drones achieving this.
Well, Santa has an immediate solution since we all know he can slow or freeze time accordingly, but this would be a very daunting, gruelling shift if he's to do it all in one night. I imagine his 'night' would potentially be thousands of hours long. So he likely came up with some solutions to at least minimize this.
One idea would be to use a different kind of drone to get things off the ground, move things across oceans and otherwise desolate areas. Even with our paltry technology, humans - specifically Americans - are conceptually developing a military spy drone, the SR-72 that can reach up to Mach 6.0, or over 7,240 km/h. THAT's more like it! With some special Santa refinements, strategically placing readily-prepared super-fast drones around the globe could easily allow him to quickly depart from home in a few minutes, cross the Atlantic and Pacific in half an hour or so and maybe get his shift complete in merely hundreds of hours.
But yes, this would take a lot of power, and being battery-dependent, drones would likely die off within a matter of hours, even with Santa's prodigious skill set. But what do humans have to offer?
Well, there are a lot of scammy, fake news-type battery revolutions going on out there, with various kickstarters promising a battery that CHARGES IN SECONDS AND LASTS FOR MONTHS, or a THORIUM-POWERED CAR THAT ONLY NEEDS REFUELLING ONCE EVERY HUNDRED YEARS or whatever, but the reality is that we've very likely hit more-or-less the peak of battery performance.
You can see this by all the phones exploding as we try to maximize their performance, and anything more tends to fit along the lines of petroleum or, say, dynamite. Let me demonstrate.
Here we have those which you might be familiar with. Lithium-Ion batteries, and above, an in-development Lithium-metal battery, which tops off its energy density at about 4.32 MJ/litre.
Any higher and we cease to walk the electro-chemical world and start in chemical, including wood which turns out to have over three times the energy density of our best batteries. but scrolling up to the top of this Wiki chart, we reach the peak of energy performance; nuclear fission, fusion and decay:
Now we're getting somewhere. With Li-Ion batteries pathetically draining our lives at 0.9 MJ/L, a well-developed Deuterium-Helium-3 battery could put out 3,940,000 MJ/L, or the equivalent of 4,377,777 Li-Ion batteries, or something.
Is this impossible? Well, for the sake of my post, I'm going to go ahead and say absolutely not. The French are working on a fusion reactor as we speak, and have been for, well, a long time. Working with 35 other nations on the project, do you really think THEY all believe it's impossible? I'll leave that to you.
As for Santa, he's simply a man ahead of his time. To him, this is just all part of the day job; build silent, fusion-powered, hyper-sonic drones throughout the year, feed the obsolete reindeer and head out for a multi-hundred hour shift delivering Chinese garbage to entitled little brats around the world who have no concept of poverty, authoritarianism or culture.
And that, my friendly readers, is the truth. Santa would know. He has thousands of spy drones. How do you think he knows who's been naughty or nice? Watch yourselves.
All Images provided from linked sources or CC0 Licensed