The Navara Dark Sky concept tows a high-powered space telescope to remote locations.
The market for pickup trucks is huge, and Nissan knows that as well as any manufacturer in the segment. But with this latest concept, the Japanese automaker is fixing its gaze beyond the competition and straight up at the cosmos.
Following show trucks like the Smokin' Titan XD and the Armada Mountain Patrol, the Nissan Navara Dark Sky concept was unveiled at the Hannover commercial-vehicle expo in Germany. It was developed in conjunction with the European Space Agency as a mobile astronomy lab, packing a giant telescope that can see distant galaxies, nebulae, and supernovas.
The show truck takes its name from (and its mission to) remote locations where reflective light pollution is at its least, enabling astronomers to get the best view of the stars. To that end, it's been hitched to a custom-made trailer with an ultra-high-powered PlaneWave telescope, sheltered under a mechanized roof and refrigerated to protect the equipment from harsh atmospheric conditions.
The truck itself – based on the Navara that's similar to the US-market Nissan Frontier – has been jacked-up on an off-road suspension and features a unique livery and red lighting to help the operators' eyes adjust to the dark sky.
"The Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept allows observations to take place in very remote places, avoiding light pollution," said Dr Fred Jansen, senior mission manager for the ESA's Gaia satellite program. "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."
It's not all for show, either. "The Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept is a brilliant example of Nissan serving as an authentic partner, empowering our customers to go anywhere," added Nissan's Ashwani Gupta. Following the Hannover show, Nissan will donate the truck for educational and exploratory initiatives.