These days the north pole is liquified a lot more often than it used to be, boosting young people's skepticism about the true location of Santa's workshop. But a scientist points out that snowy moons like Enceladus around Saturn could provide the ideal "winter wonderlands" for particularly hearty souls -- maybe even Santa Claus and eight tiny reindeer.
"Living in a never-ending landscape of snow and ice all year might not seem particularly inviting, even for Santa!" said Dr. David Brown at the University of Warwick's Centre for Exoplanets and Habitability in a release. "But these moons represent some of the best chances for life beyond Earth in the solar system, and are environments that we're very interested in exploring."
If you think about it, it's never been made crystal clear that the stories talk about Kris Kringle living at our north pole. And there is the odd sighting of ato consider.
Snowy worlds such as Enceladus and Europa may be billions of miles away, but given that there are now almost 2 billion children on Earth that Claus and his reindeer are rumored to attempt to visit in a single night, traveling such distances don't seem unreasonable for such a craft.
There's also the question of how Santa and his reindeer survive traveling so fast through the airless, radiation-filled vacuum of space, but we've never thought too hard about Santa's logistical challenges, so why start now?
If Santa has set up shop elsewhere, we may spot his extraterrestrial workshop and perhaps a few alien elves or other (probably much, much smaller) life forms in the next decade. This week NASA announced it will be funding further examination of the feasibility of sending a robotic lander to Enceladus.
The notion of an off-planet Santa raises other interesting questions, like do other solar systems have their own Santas? And where are their workshops?
Fortunately, there are very early indications thataround an exoplanet beyond our solar system. Sooner or later, we may be able to search for interstellar Santas.
Consequently, the ability to confirm the existence of life beyond Earth is all I want for Christmas. Maybe Santa is the ideal person to give us all that gift.
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