Nissan has revealed the Navara Dark Sky concept at the 2018 Hannover motor show, developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).
The space-themed show car is basically a "mobile astronomy lab", featuring an observatory-class telescope mounted to a bespoke off-road trailer.
In addition to the special trailer with stargazing equipment, the Navara itself has been given a makeover, which also potentially previews an forthcoming update for the popular ute.
'Parametric' patterning adorns the exterior and interior, which is said to echo "nebula motifs". There's plenty of red lighting as well, since red light affects human night vision the least.
The full-LED headlights have a new daytime-running light strip compared to the dotted layout of the current car, and the headlight internals themselves appear to have quad-LED lenses.
Other changes include has raised the ground clearance – though doesn't explicitly say by how much – larger wheels shod in off-road tyres, larger brakes with drilled disc rotors, along with navy interior upholstery accented by orange patterning and seat piping. Nissan's new steering wheel design – already featured in models like the Qashqai and X-Trail – makes an appearance as well.
"Additional smart features include Wi-Fi, a laptop station and UHF transmission to relay data instantaneously, anywhere in the world," the company said in its press release.
"Eight combined radar units, on each corner of the vehicle and trailer, update the driver on the vehicle's surroundings through the NissanConnect infotainment touch screen on the dashboard."
Nissan has also decked out the Navara Dark Sky with various technologies from its ProPilot driver assistance suite – the key area where we believe this previews a forthcoming update.
There's adaptive cruise control and steering assist, which join forces to provide semi-autonomous highway driving capability, along with upgraded 360-degree camera and blind-spot monitoring systems which now accommodate the extra length of the trailer.
Additionally, there's Intelligent Towing Hitch Alignment that autonomously steers, accelerates, brakes and shifts the vehicle to align with the trailer for an easier hookup.
Speaking of the trailer, the powerful telescope utilises a 40cm primary mirror to give "detailed views beyond the rings of Saturn, to distant galaxies, nebulae and supernovas".
The trailer module also features a special refrigerated atmosphere so the telescope remains stable and calibrated at the optimum temperature.
"The Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept is a brilliant example of Nissan serving as an authentic partner, empowering our customers to go anywhere," said Ashwani Gupta, senior vice president for Nissan's light commercial vehicle division.
"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."
Power comes from a 140kW/450Nm 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel – the same as high-spec versions of the standard Navara.
Following its debut at the Hannover motor show, Nissan will donate the telescope "to pass on the spirit of exploration and adventure".
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