Automakers are always looking to incorporate unique ideas into their vehicles and many concepts are born from these ideas, at which point companies take it to the next level. For Nissan, space has clearly been on the Japanese car manufacturer’s mind recently, thanks in part to special edition Star Wars makeovers for the last film, but this latest concept vehicle is like something straight out of Marvel’s Thor.
Earlier this week, at the 2018 Hannover Motor Show in Germany, the company announced the Navara Dark Sky Concept, a truck that looks a lot like North America’s Frontier and was developed with the European Space Agency, so that it also doubles as a mobile space observatory and lab. Not only would drivers be able to search around for the perfect night sky, but they’d also be able to access “dark sky” locations – the best, and often most difficult, locations for gazing upon what’s out there. But what is it about the Navara Dark Sky that makes it better to stargaze than any other truck we can actually purchase?
Well, the vehicle pulls a pod-looking trailer which holds an ultra high-powered telescope that can pop out of a mechanized roof and it can be moved to more remote locations with the help of Nissan’s ProPilot safety system. Some of the system’s new functions include a tow-hitch alignment feature, an augmented blind-spot warning system to keep the trailer’s footprint and a special camera mode that uses radar to scan the surrounding terrain. Speaking of the trailer, like the truck, it has an Leaf EV battery pack to power it, which also powers a laptop station, UHF transmitter for data relaying and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
According to Nissan, the Navara Dark Sky’s look was inspired “from the Cosmos” with a black finish and white “Nebula” parametric pattern, along with unique tires and red LED lighting on the grille, which happens to be the least polluting to a person’s night vision – plus a roof-mounted LED fog light. What’s under the hood is just as important, of course. This vehicle is equipped with a 2.3-liter twin-turbo engine that produces 187 horsepower and 331 pounds of torque, more than enough to move that valuable trailer. And, when the Hannover show is complete, Nissan announced it will donate the telescope to the ESA.
This thing was made to find its way off of the grid and stay there. Unfortunately, it will likely never be anything more than this one concept vehicle, which is a shame because it would be the perfect truck to explore Alaska and check out the beautiful night sky.