Developed in the UK, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), the concept vehicle functions as a mobile astronomy lab, featuring a world-leading, observatory-class telescope on a bespoke off-road trailer.
As the latest embodiment of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the vehicle comes with ProPILOT driver assistance technology, which has been upgraded to make it the most capable pickup for safe and convenient towing. ESA is mapping the stars with unprecedented precision using the Gaia satellite, which has already observed more than a billion stars. The Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept supports this project by helping astronomers conduct follow-up observations of the universe from hard-to-reach, so-called “dark sky” locations – away from the nighttime glow of urban areas, which decreases visibility.
The vehicle includes an array of smart features that have been upgraded to meet the needs of commercial vehicle customers
“The Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept allows observations to take place in very remote places, avoiding light pollution, while also transporting telescopes safely and easily,” said Dr Fred Jansen, ESA’s senior mission manager for Gaia. “Telescopes like the one in the trailer are needed in studies of planets and stars in our galaxy, allowing Earth-based follow-up campaigns enabled by the Gaia data.”
The design of the Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept takes its inspiration from the cosmos. The dark exterior colour scheme features nebula motifs using parametric patterning, and the interior brings together the deep hues of the night sky with the orange shades of a setting sun. Reflective orange piping on the seats also provides visibility inside the vehicle, negating the need for white lights that would disrupt the astronomer’s night vision.
Since red light affects human night vision the least, both the vehicle and trailer exclusively use red lighting to avoid visual disruption during observations.
Working closely with ESA, the trailer module also incorporates a special refrigerated atmosphere, allowing the telescope to remain stable and calibrated at the optimum temperature in transit to any location.
Once at the desired, often hard-to-reach destination, the trailer module’s mechanized roof can be opened to focus the telescope on the night sky. Using a 40-centimetre (primary) mirror, it has the ability to give detailed views beyond the rings of Saturn, to distant galaxies, nebulae and supernovas.
The Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept is robustly engineered to put business needs at the forefront. A secure towing hitch combined with a sturdy ladder-frame chassis; a 2.3-liter, 190 ps twin-turbo diesel engine; and 450 Nm of torque enable the Navara to tackle rough terrain in remote areas and easily handle the telescope module’s weight.
The Navara and trailer both feature portable EV battery packs, putting to use the brand’s tried and tested electric-vehicle battery technology. When docked in place, the battery packs are constantly in charging mode and ready for use when required.
Additional smart features include Wi-Fi, a laptop station and UHF transmission to relay data instantaneously, anywhere in the world. Eight combined radar units, on each corner of the vehicle and trailer, update the driver on the vehicle’s surroundings through the NissanConnect infotainment touch screen on the dashboard.
These Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies work together to make the Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept the most intelligent pickup in its class for towing.
World-class Nissan Intelligent Mobility systems enable the Navara to manoeuvre the telescope trailer into prime position. Radar sensors and cameras scan the terrain for the right location to park and stabilize the trailer. Compared with the standard Navara, the overall ride height of the Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept has been raised, creating extra ground clearance to enhance the vehicle’s “go anywhere” capability.
Following the Hannover Motor Show, Nissan will donate the telescope to pass on the spirit of exploration and adventure and to inspire and educate future generations.
– Additional exterior styling components made from robust heavy-duty polymer
– Eight red night light/sensor units, one in each of the four corners of the pickup and trailer
– Lashing points on each wheel arch extension add extra practicality
– Standard Navara grille enhanced with reinforced over-riders and new front chin guard creates a more purposeful and technical look
– Front winch incorporated into the chin guard for additional peace of mind while off-roading
– Roof structure extends back over the load bed and incorporates roll bars and communication transmitter
– High-intensity white lights in the front edge of the roof structure for additional illumination ahead of the car
– Full-width red night light in the rear edge of the roof structure to illuminate load bed
– Roof structure robust enough to carry bags, supplies and equipment for overnighting in remote location.
– Restyled rear bumper and side step, complete with ground illuminating red night lights with new three-slot design to echo wheel arch lashing points
– Four-point projector-style headlamps with new interpretation of Nissan’s signature boomerang Daytime Running Light (DRL) design
– Bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels, unique to this vehicle and fitted with off-road tyres
– Midnight blue and orange interior upholstery
– Reflective orange piping on seats to help occupants locate interior features in low light conditions
– Wider and flatter armrest between the front seats doubles as a workstation
– Integrated luminescent strap on armrest to secure laptop while driving
– Luminescent floor mats to aid night-time visibility
LOAD BED UPGRADES
– 3 x integrated storage areas in side and front of load bed for carrying smaller items
– Lashing points integrated into the top edge of the load bed
– Bespoke load bed liner sculpted from heavy duty polymer
– Load bed liner features integrated brushed aluminium rollers for easy loading / unloading
– 2 x Nissan portable battery units integrated into load bed. Spares to power trailer and telescope
– Integrated tool and battery storage unit at front of load bed provides locking mechanism for battery units. Vehicle’s engine can be used to charge these when running
– World’s first observatory-class telescope on a bespoke off-road capable trailer
– Refrigerated interior to ensure calibration of telescope is maintained during transit
– Motorised functionality for trailer opening and stabilizer leg deployment
– Roof is light in colour to reflect light and heat
– Rear-facing camera integrated into the light strip on the rear
– Upper section is a laminate construction of bonded cabin fibre layers with insulated reflective liner to ensure the refrigerated trailer stays at the optimum temperature
– Chassis built from sturdy box-section steel for practical off-road use, and fitted with 16-inch wheels / off-road tyres
– Trailer powered by two integrated Nissan portable battery packs
– Trailer opening via motorised two-stage action, splitting front to back, opening horizontally and then with a clamshell movement to allow the telescope to see the widest possible section of sky
– Trailer functionality accessed via remote control
Overall length (Navara and trailer): 9,680 mm
Navara length: 5,400 mm
Navara height: 1,920 mm
Navara wheelbase: 3,198mm
Navara wheels: 20 inches
Trailer length: 4,060 mm
Trailer height: 2,060 mm
Trailer wheels: 16 inches