Scientist hints Santa's workshop could be located in space

Santa trackers are heating up for the holidays, but the search for St. Nick's workshop might need to be widened, says one astronomer.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Expertise Solar, solar storage, space, science, climate change, deregulated energy, DIY solar panels, DIY off-grid life projects, and CNET's "Living off the Grid" series Credentials
  • Finalist for the Nesta Tipping Point prize and a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Eric Mack
2 min read

Could Santa's workshop be at this north pole?

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

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 a snowman near the north pole of Enceladus to 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?

Watch this: Was alien bacteria found on the International Space Station?

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 that astronomers may soon confirm the first exomoon around 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. 

Best places in space to search for alien life

See all photos

Technically Literate: Original works of short fiction with unique perspectives on tech, exclusively on CNET.

Crowd ControlA crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.