The Truth About The Roller Coaster Designed To Kill You

Have you ever had so much fun you could die? How about literally? Roller coasters are already terrifying enough, but one hypothetical "Euthanasia Coaster" is mathematically designed to kill every single one of its passengers.

The Euthanasia Coaster was designed in 2010 by Julijonas Urbonas; per his online bio, Urbonas is a Lithuanian artist and PhD student at London's Royal College of Art. On the Euthanasia Coaster's official web page, Urbonas introduces it as "a hypothetic death machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to humanely – with elegance and euphoria — take the life of a human being." Per the site, the project was partly inspired by the roller coaster tycoon John Allen, who once said, "the ultimate roller coaster is built when you send out 24 people and they all come back dead."

All right, that's already a lot to take in. Given that the Euthanasia Coaster is designed to kill every one of its passengers, a natural first question is, "Who is the target audience for this thing?" On his site, Urbonas mentions a few applications for the coaster, including "Euthanasia, execution, gravitational weapon, black humour prop, etc." (Urbonas has apparently embraced his mad scientist vibe; who else would use the phrase "gravitational weapon"?) For now, let's accept the idea that the Euthanasia Coaster could be utilized by the terminally ill or as a means to execute criminals. Our second question must be, "What makes this particular roller coaster deadly?"

The hypothetical 'Euthanasia Coaster' would kill its riders with g-force

Urbonas performed careful mathematical calculations to ensure that his Euthanasia Coaster would be lethal, but enjoyable. The coaster starts with a massive incline which, according to Urbonas's website, takes several minutes to ride up. Urbonas encourages every participant to use those minutes to decide whether or not they actually want to go through with the trip; they can exit at the top if they change their mind.

Those who agree to continue will then be met with a 500-meter drop, accelerating them to a maximum speed of 100 m/s (or 224 mph). Following this drop, the roller coaster will enter the first of seven loop-de-loops. During this stage, Urbonas explains, the centrifugal force will firmly pin each passenger to their seat. The rapid circular motion of the loop-de-loops will produce a gravitational force (g-force) of 10 gs, lasting for 60 seconds. (For reference, most astronauts feel a maximum of 3 gs during rocket launches, per SpaceAnswers.)

This massive g-force will cause each person's blood to rush downward, starving their brain of oxygen; "cerebral hypoxia" will ultimately prove their demise. But Urbonas promises that it will be an enjoyable death. "Your vision may blur ..." he writes, "or even disappear completely (blackout), together with hearing." At the same time, your blood-starved brain will undergo "disorientation, anxiety, confusion, and, most importantly, euphoria" as you pass into a dreamlike state. And then, you'll die. Fun, right?

The Euthanasia Coaster will probably never be built

Is there a possibility that someone could survive the Euthanasia Coaster? Urbonas suggests that it's extremely unlikely, but passengers could still be outfitted with "biomonitoring suits" to check "if there is a need for the second round."

Now, some readers might be enticed by the wildness of Urbonas's roller coaster design. But to those of you who find it terrifying (like we do), you can rest assured that the euthanasia coaster will probably never be built. Julijonas Urbonas is an art student, and the Euthanasia Coaster was essentially just an art project, not a serious proposal. Per Wired, Urbonas built a 1:500 scale model of the coaster (shown above) and displayed it in the 2011 HUMAN+ art exhibition in Dublin, Ireland.

As an art project, the Euthanasia Coaster is a fascinating reflection on mortality, euthanasia, and the physical limits of our human bodies. But with the media attention that Urbonas's coaster has received, it may one day become more than just art. It's possible that a wealthy person could finance the construction of an actual deadly roller coaster, as explored in the 2015 short film H Positive. As a result, we can't say for certain that the Euthanasia Coaster will never be built. Even if it is, how much repeat business could there be?