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You can now use a Nissan Navara to explore space

Forget sat nav when buying your pick-up. Spec an astronomy lab instead

Published: 19 Sep 2018

As excessive optional extras go, the Bentley Mulliner fly-fishing kit is one that stands out. Or the Bentley Mulliner picnic hamper. Or the £160k Bentley Mulliner tourbillon dash clock.

Even Bentley can stand down on this one, though, as the new Nissan Navara Dark Sky concept comes with its very own – wait for it – astronomy lab.

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There’s a world-leading observatory-class telescope, developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). The ESA has enlisted the Navara Dark Sky edition to help with its mapping of the stars with “unprecedented precision.” The Nissan aims to help astronomers “conduct follow-up observations of the universe” from places only a Navara could get to.

Nissan Intelligent Mobility systems enable the Navara to move its trailer-based lab into the perfect spot, with radars and cameras scanning terrain to offer the best place to stabilise the telescope. Ride height has been raised to add to its off-the-grid capabilities.

The Navara itself gets a spacey makeover – the black paint features “nebula motifs using parametric patterning” while the interior pairs dark leather and orange accents to mimick “the orange shades of a setting sun.”

The Star Trek-esque trailer is home to the ultrahigh-power PlaneWave telescope, which works with data received from the Gaia satellite. Or something. We have enough trouble understanding modern parking cameras, let alone a telescope.

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Dr Fred Jansen, ESA’s senior mission manager for Gaia, said: “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.”

More blurb we don’t understand says “the trailer module also incorporates a special refrigerated atmosphere, allowing the telescope to remain stable and calibrated at the optimum temperature in transit to any location.”

You want to know how much it all costs? Um, it's a concept. And we suspect that telescope may cost even more than a Bentley clock anyway...

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