Science Satellites Scour Skies for Santa

December 20, 2007

International audiences (young and young-at-heart) will be closely eyeing the Santa-tracking satellite technology of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the coming week. Beginning at 6 a.m. Monday, Dec. 24, Los Alamos scientists will use two advanced science satellites to mark the path of the elfin traveler, noting his travels at SANTA.LANL.GOV online.

"We expect Santa to arrive in Northern New Mexico around midnight, Mountain Standard Time, on Christmas Eve," said Diane Roussel-Dupré of Space Data Systems (ISR-3). "As he travels the world, crossing time zones, he's chasing midnight, hour after hour, and delivering his treasures to families everywhere."

While various scientific theories exist on how Santa manages to achieve his high-speed deliveries, none have been proven, although ion shielding, personal magnetic fields and multi-dimensional travel concepts show promise.

Laboratory space scientists will use a combination of technologies to monitor Santa's progress as he speeds through the skies. They can call upon a satellite tracking dish, located in Los Alamos, in addition to using sensors on the Laboratory's FORTE and Cibola Flight Experiment satellites. The U.S. Air Force also will use its nine tracking stations around the world to help monitor the sleigh and its eight tiny reindeer.

"We like to think of our efforts as another way to help spread glad tidings," Roussel-Dupré said. "This is our present to the communities of Northern New Mexico and the world."

Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory

Explore further: Space-based supercomputer in design at Los Alamos

Related Stories

Los Alamos provides HOPE for radiation belt storm probes

August 30, 2012

Los Alamos National Laboratory expertise in radiation detection and shielding is poised to help a national team of scientists better understand a mysterious region that can create hazardous space weather near our home planet.

Los Alamos wizardry to aid new Mars science laboratory

December 24, 2004

Having analyzed Mars from afar via orbiting satellite, Los Alamos National Laboratory instruments will next be on their way to get out and play in the Martian dirt. Two of the eight instruments aboard NASA's planned Mars ...

Image: Prepping the last Vela satellite

July 20, 2015

The Vela series of satellites, which spanned 1963-1984, carried Los Alamos-designed-and-built sensors for detecting x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and the natural background of radiation in space. 

Recommended for you

Bright areas on Ceres suggest geologic activity

December 13, 2017

If you could fly aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft, the surface of dwarf planet Ceres would generally look quite dark, but with notable exceptions. These exceptions are the hundreds of bright areas that stand out in images Dawn ...

Stellar nursery blooms into view

December 13, 2017

The OmegaCAM camera on ESO's VLT Survey Telescope has captured this glittering view of the stellar nursery called Sharpless 29. Many astronomical phenomena can be seen in this giant image, including cosmic dust and gas clouds ...

Major space mystery solved using data from student satellite

December 13, 2017

A 60-year-old mystery regarding the source of some energetic and potentially damaging particles in Earth's radiation belts is now solved using data from a shoebox-sized satellite built and operated by University of Colorado ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.