Among the sophisticated instruments aboard the 900-kilogram vessel is equipment designed by the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The Institute’s REMS-H and REMS-P instruments will measure pressure and humidity in the Martian atmosphere for the entire duration of Curiosity’s stay on the planet.
The main advantage of the sensors is their accuracy and small size as they weigh just 15 and 35 grams respectively. The pressure instrument is based on sensor technology developed by Vaisala Corporation. Other Finnish companies which have participated in the project are Selmic, Micro Analog Systems, Optomekaniikka and Ideal Engineering.
The Meteorological Institute has previously built similar devices for several interplanetary spacecraft, such as the Huygens probe (ESA/NASA), which landed successfully on Titan, a moon of Saturn, in January 2005. Its equipment was also involved in NASA’s Mars Phoenix spacecraft in 2008.
The overall aim of the mission is to determine whether Mars has an environment that can support life.