Vaisala has a presence in examining the Martian atmosphere as the Mars Rover Curiosity is equipped with Vaisala BAROCAP® and HUMICAP® pressure and humidity sensors. The sensors are a part of instrumentation designed by the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), and they will be used to gather accurate readings of pressure and humidity in the extreme environmental conditions of the Martian atmosphere.
Vaisala has provided the project with standard Vaisala HUMICAP® humidity sensors and specially customized Vaisala BAROCAP® pressure sensors. Both were put through space qualification testing by FMI, to ensure they are suited to the Martian atmosphere, in addition to which FMI made specific alterations and modifications to the Vaisala BAROCAP® pressure sensors to meet the needs of the mission.
Vaisala’s technology will be used to compile time series on pressure and humidity for the duration of the entire Mars Science Laboratory program, which is one Mars year, 686 Earth days. FMI’s instruments will also be used to look for possible residues and evidence of water that may have filled the Gale crater in the past. Furthermore, the rover will be making observations about the structure, geology and environmental conditions of the area.
Vaisala has provided sensors to FMI’s space exploration projects since 1988. This is the fifth venture to space where FMI is applying Vaisala’s technology.
“The Finnish Meteorological Institute benefits not only from the sensors but also from Vaisala’s scientific and technological knowhow. Our 24 years of collaboration in space exploration projects is testament of this,” says FMI’s Head of Radar and Space Technology, Ari-Matti Harri.
The Vaisala BAROCAP® and HUMICAP® sensor technologies are used in numerous Vaisala products.