Going off-road in the search for dark skies

Nissan reveals Navara Dark Sky Concept in Germany

While it is a concept, the futuristic looking truck still looks similar to the production model Navara. The heavily cropped image led us to believe that Nissan Europe was following the lead of Nissan USA in showing a rugged, new overlanding or lifestyle sports concept.

Nissan has revealed the Navara Dark Sky Concept - a highly modified version of its Navara pick-up created to transport astronomers to remote locations to observe the night sky. It's essentially a tough, no-nonsense observatory on wheels.

The concept now being shown in Hannover is comprised of the actual pickup and a trailer that houses an observatory-class telescope. ESA says this telescope is powerful enough to get detailed views beyond the rings of Saturn.

Working closely with ESA, the Nissan's trailer module also incorporates a number of other special features including a refrigerated atmosphere, allowing the telescope to remain thermally stable and calibrated at the optimum temperature while in transit. A reflective lining inside the carbon fiber laminate body helps in keeping things cool.

Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept
Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept debuts at Hannover

The trailer's mechanical roof can be activated once at the desired spot, which will allow the PlaneWave telescope to set its sights to the skies.

The system, plus the accompanying UHF transmitter, laptop station and eight radar units (plus WiFi) are powered by an auxiliary bank of batteries influenced by the Nissan Leaf EV. 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. 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. It also uses red interior lighting to minimise any effects on people's night vision, since red light affects it the least.

The Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept allows astronomers to view the universe from hard-to-reach locations away from the nighttime glow of urban areas.

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