Nissan is bringing the stars within reach with the Navara Dark Sky Concept vehicle. Partnered with the European Space Agency, Nissan has developed a vehicle that doubles as a mobile astronomy lab. The vehicle consists of a Navara and a bespoke trailer that houses an observatory-class telescope. The idea is to allow astronomers the freedom of accessing hard to reach “dark sky”—areas unaffected by light pollution and thus allowing for better observance of the night sky—where they can verify observations made by the Gaia satellite.
The Dark Sky Navara features ProPILOT driver assistance technology. This tech combines Nissan’s Intelligent Cruise Control and Steering Assist technologies to give the driver even better control of the pickup by maintaining a distance between itself and the car in front as well as keeping centred in the lane during single-lane driving, even on curves. Nissan also upgraded the Intelligent Around View Monitor system to better support towing and to make parking easier. The Navara also features Blind Spot Warning and Intelligent Towing Hitch Alignment.
The trailer features the ultrahigh-power PlaneWave telescope. During transport, the trailer’s refrigerated atmosphere keeps the telescope stable and calibrated. On location, the trailer’s mechanized roof opens to allow the telescope to scan the heavens. The telescope uses a 40cm primary mirror, which can give detailed views beyond Saturn.
With this rig, astronomers will be gazing deep into the expanses of space from some of the world’s most remote areas.