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Nissan Transformed A Pick-up Truck Into A World Class Mobile Space Observatory

Nissan has transformed a pick-up truck into a world-class mobile space observatory.

The Navara Dark Sky Concept allows astronomers to gaze at the universe from hard-to-reach locations away from the nighttime glow of urban areas.
It tows a bespoke trailer which houses a world-leading telescope giving detailed views beyond the rings of Saturn, to distant galaxies, nebulae and supernovas.

The one-off Nissan, developed in the UK in collaboration with the European Space Agency, was unveiled at today's Hannover Motor Show in Germany.

The trailer module has a special refrigerated atmosphere, which allows the telescope to remain stable and calibrated at the optimum temperature in transit to any location.

Once at the desired destination, the trailer module's mechanised roof opens to focus the telescope on the night sky. 

To negotiate tricky terrain, the Nissan has four-wheel drive, 20-inch (50 cm) wheels with off-road tyres and high-intensity headlights. The overall ride height has been raised for improved ground clearance.

Under the bonnet is a 2.3-litre twin-turbocharged diesel with enough pulling power to handle the trailer's additional weight.

The Navara and trailer both feature portable EV battery packs, which make use of Nissan's existing electric-vehicle battery technology.

When docked in place, the battery packs are constantly in charging mode and ready for use.

Additional high-tech features include Wi-Fi, a laptop station and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) radio transmission to relay data instantaneously to anywhere in the world.

Parking is made simple thanks to the cameras which give the driver a birds-eye-view around the vehicle.

There are eight radar units, on each corner of the vehicle and trailer, which update the driver on the vehicle's surroundings through the touchscreen on the dashboard.

At the heart of the trailer is the ultrahigh-power PlaneWave telescope which uses a 16 inch (40 cm) primary mirror to focus on the night's sky.

Since red light affects human night vision at least, both the vehicle and trailer exclusively use red lighting to avoid visual disruption during observations.

The Navara also has ProPILOT, which enhances the driver's control by combining Nissan's Intelligent Cruise Control and Steering Assist technologies.

Credit: Nissan, DailyMail

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