Nissan unveils mobile space observatory the Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept
Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept with mobile observatory
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IF you like watching the stars but get fed up with the light pollution that makes star gazing difficult, then you’ll like this: the Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept.

It’s a Navara with a specially adapted trailer that carries an observatory. And because of the Navara’s four-wheel drive ability, it can carry the observatory to unpolluted light areas for better star gazing.

So there you have it – the Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept.

It’s been developed in the UK, in collaboration with the European Space Agency. The concept vehicle functions as a mobile astronomy lab. It carries a world-leading, observatory-class telescope on a bespoke off-road trailer.

Nissan says it has upgraded ProPILOT driver assistance technology to make it the most capable pickup for safe and convenient towing.

The Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept is supporting the European Space Agency’s mapping of the stars, which it is doing using the Gaia satellite. This satellite has already observed more than a billion stars.

Dr Fred Jansen, European Space Agency: “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”

The Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept allows astronomers to 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.

Ashwani Gupta, senior vice president of Nissan’s light commercial vehicle business, commented:

“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.”

The Navara Dark Sky Concept includes an array of smart features for commercial vehicle customers:

  • ProPILOT enhances the driver’s control by combining Nissan’s Intelligent Cruise Control and Steering Assist technologies. This maintains the distance with the vehicle in front while keeping the car and rig centered during single-lane driving – even on curves.
  • The Intelligent Around View Monitor system has been upgraded to support towing, giving the driver a bird’s-eye-view around the vehicle and rig and making parking easier.
  • Blind Spot Warning has been enhanced to highlight objects in blind spots within the trailer range
  • Intelligent Towing Hitch Alignment lets your car take control of steering, acceleration, braking and shifting, so that it can automatically manoeuvre to align with the trailer for easy hook up
  • Nissan’s portable battery packs utilises electric vehicle technology from the Nissan LEAF to ensure auxiliary power supply, no matter how remote the location

Dr Fred Jansen, ESA’s senior mission manager for Gaia, added:

“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 Dark Sky Concept was unveiled at the Commercial Vehicle Hannover Show which runs September 19-27.

Dark Sky Concept observatory
The Dark Sky Concept observatory housed in the specialist trailer

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