The world may be abuzz with news that “evidence” of life on Mars has been discovered, after an armchair astronomer spotted a half-mile-long “building” in satellite photos of the red planet, but something perhaps stranger than that has been unveiled in Germany.
The Concept Design 60 Years Unimog looks like what Martians would drive if they came to conquer the Earth. In fact, it is Mercedes-Benz’s futuristic take on the automaker’s long-serving uber-utility vehicle line, known as the Unimog, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary with the company this year.
In true sci-fi form the open-cab UUV features an exposed skeleton, headlights that focus their beams of light (lasers, anyone?) and a color scheme inspired by the poison dart frog to highlight the Unimog’s dominion over both land and water -- the production vehicle it is based on can drive through water that is four feet deep.
Over the years Unimogs have served as everything from military vehicles to desert rally support trucks. Even versions with the ability to drive on both the road and rails have been created to be used in train yards, so it’s not a stretch to see one that would be perfect as a patrol vehicle for our Martian overlords. Unfortunately for them, since it is powered by a turbodiesel engine and not some advanced electric powertrain, they wouldn’t be able to export them back home where the oxygen needed for internal combustion is in extremely short supply. Project leader Bertrand Janssen says of the concept that “on no account did we work in an atmosphere where our ideas were divorced from reality,” apparently making the point that it is intended to be an Earth-bound vehicle.
In any event, while Mercedes-Benz has no plans to put the concept into production, given the flexibility of the Unimog chassis, it’s not far fetched to think that someone might try to build a replica of it for themselves. Whether or not that someone is currently residing at the Martian coordinates of 49'19.73"N 29 33'06.53"W is yet to be seen.