Zodiac Stargazer offers you a ride in an astronomical telescope on wheels

Zodiac Stargazer Astronomical Telescope on Wheels
Zodiac Stargazer concept is a mobile astronomical telescope for two. Images © Hyunsik Moon

A most unusual and intriguing EV concept design has emerged from the mind of designer Hyunsik Moon, and it has astronomy fans in particular engaged in a buzz online. Moon calls it the Zodiac Stargazer, and it’s a 2-seater electric concept that has been described by some as a “mobile astronomical telescope for two” and by others as a “swiveling telescope on wheels.”

Offering a unique view of the Cosmos

To be clear, Moon hasn’t created the Zodiac Stargazer concept as a serious production design. It’s part of a project that he’s working on in his MA in Transportation Design in Germany, but the unique and head-turning design has nonetheless garnered a lot of attention as an interesting new idea for future mobility.

Imagine being able to take the telescope on wheels out to an isolated patch in the desert, before the telescope barrel in which the two passengers are seated swivels to face them directly upward through what is now the canopy roof (rather than the windshield). But this is no plate of glass that the passengers are looking through, but a specially made lens that will help bring the night sky into focus, giving you an unbeatable view of the universe.

Assuming the rest of the vehicle works as described, we can infer that it would also be a self-driving vehicle, and probably not one that goes at great speeds since one wouldn’t want to be maneuvered into astronomy position only to then see a host of dead insects plastered all over the front lens.

Obstacles ahead

Zodiac Stargazer Telescope Car Flip-up Lens
You’d get in and out through a flip-up lens.

While the concept is certainly a romantic and fascinating one, it does pose a number of key questions to the more scientifically minded, and those with a nose for engineering issues. For instance, Moon’s idea is that the front lens would also act as the main access point to the vehicle, like some kind of bubble glass door. That leaves experienced astronomers to wonder how the lens can maintain its focus while people are potentially opening and closing it to get in and out.

Its driving dynamics have also raised questions, as we mentioned before about the apparent need for it to be self driving, since the idea of the lens would mean that ordinary eyes couldn’t see through it clearly. The question of keeping it clean and free from dust and other contaminants is another concern. The majesty of the universe is perhaps less keenly felt when there’s a big smudge in the way.

Finally, what if that lens were pointed at the sun? Would the two passengers instantly get roasted alive, or badly burned by the concentrated sun rays focusing through the lens onto their skin?

An automotive romance

But let’s not get too bogged down in technical details. What Moon has done is create a vision for how self-driving electric vehicle technology might be applied in different scenarios. For instance, the Zodiac Stargazer would be a huge tourist attraction in those parts of the world where the effects of light pollution are less, and the night sky has a lot to offer to anyone with the right gear.

Source: Hyunsik Moon/Behance