Nissan Builds Portable Astronomy Lab in Collaboration with ESA

The Nissan Navara ‘Dark Sky’ is a portable astronomy lab that is aimed at exploring the space.

The Hannover Motor show was filled with techy surprises from car manufacturers all over the world. Among the futuristic vehicles, one may have outshone the others – The Navara Dark Sky Concept from Nissan. 

Nissan Navara The Dark Sky Concept
Source: Nissan

The vehicle is a two-part concept that combines the spruced up version of Nissan Navara and a trailer that is made to function as a portable astronomy lab, made in collaboration with the European Space Agency. This is not your everyday Navara as it differs in both form and function.

A unique approach to astronomy

While pickup trucks have gained traction in the recent years, nobody has thought to make them a carrier for an astronomy lab. The trailer consists of Stargazing equipment that can be used to study the sky in detail.

With conventional setups, the telescopes were in a stationary position. However, with the Navara Dark Sky concept, we are breaking away those barriers towards astronomical study.

There is a reason why the concept is named “Dark Sky,” essentially these are parts of the sky that are hard to reach with normal equipment.

When the astronomers need to use the telescope, the mechanized roof of the trailer give way for PlaneWave telescope. The vehicle contains a Wi-Fi setup, UHF transmission equipment, and a laptop station.

Nissan Navara The Dark Sky Concept
Source: Nissan

The vehicle contains eight radar units, placed at the corners of the vehicle and the trailer. It helps the driver to have a sense of the surroundings, ensuring that the trailer doesn’t veer close to any obstacles that may damage the trailer.

Interior View of Nissan Navara Built for Astronomers.
Source: Nissan

The inside of the trailer is air-conditioned to keep the equipment running in a stable environment. The Radar based navigation also helps the driver to identify spaces that will enable the driver to park in safe spaces that can accommodate the trailer and the truck.

Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept Interiors
Source: Nissan

"Telescopes like the one in this trailer are needed in studies of planets and stars in our galaxy, facilitating Earth-based follow-up campaigns enabled by the Gaia data. It's been an exciting journey so far and has truly demonstrated what can happen when innovation and astronomy meet." Fred Jansen, ESA's senior mission manager for Gaia, said in a statement.

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Nissan Navara unveils mobile space observatory.
Source: Nissan

The Navara gets a new look, new functionalities

It's not all about the trailer though as the Navara gets a few upgrades too. The most notable change from the standard version is the black and white finish that is shared between the truck and trailer.

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The styling is called Nebula. It uses red LED lighting in the front, sides and the back.

This helps others on the road to easily see the truck at night or in dim lit scenarios. The Dark Sky has DRLs and 4-lens LED headlight system to give ample lighting even in pitch-dark situations.

One can also notice the aggressive styling complete with large off-road wheels and raised stance.

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To power the truck and trailer, the Navara Dark Sky uses 2.3-liter twin turbo diesel engine, capable of producing 187 horsepower and 450-newton meters of torque.

"The Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept is a brilliant example of Nissan serving as an authentic partner, empowering our customers to go anywhere. Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility and ProPILOT, we are creating the best solutions for the next frontiers of business, no matter how complex the commercial need," said Ashwani Gupta, senior vice president of Nissan's light commercial vehicle business.

It is surely a welcoming sight to see automotive manufacturers going beyond their comfort zone and collaborating with pioneers in other fields to create something unique and utilitarian.

Via: ESA

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