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Vaisala and Finnish Meteorological Institute Head for Mars with the ExoMars Mission

​​​Vaisala Corporation         Press Release                      March 8th, 2016

Vaisala humidity and pressure sensors are again heading for the planet Mars, incorporated in the instrumentation built by the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The ExoMars spacecraft is launched on 14th of March, 2016. The program is realized by the European Space Agency in cooperation with the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos.

​​​​The ExoMars spacecraft launch window opens on 14th of March at 09.32 UTC, and closes on 25th of March, depending on the weather conditions at the launch site at Kazakhstan. The spacecraft consists of two modules: the Trace Gas Orbiter to stay in orbit around Mars for a longer time, and the landing module called Schiaparelli to investigate the Martian soil. With world-class measurement technology onboard, the ExoMars will investigate the Martian environment and test new technologies paving the way for a future Mars sample return mission. The spacecraft is estimated to reach its destination in October 2016, following some seven months of travel.

Researching the Pressure and Humidity of the Martian Atmosphere

Vaisala has provided the ExoMars 2016 mission with standard Vaisala HUMICAP® humidity sensors, and two different, specially customized Vaisala BAROCAP® pressure sensors. The pressure sensors were verified at Vaisala to enable the measurement of extremely low pressures on Mars.

The humidity sensor and the smaller pressure sensor are used in Vaisala radiosondes in meteorological measurements, while the larger pressure sensor is used in process measurements. 

"The Finnish Meteorological Institute has been using Vaisala sensors for space research thanks to their stability," says Vaisala principal scientist Tomi Salo: "Our sensors are very stable. Users can trust that the changes indicated by our sensors, are the real changes in the measured environmental conditions." 

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) incorporated Vaisala sensors in their space instruments, which they developed specifically for the ExoMars Mission. The FMI instruments are a part of the small environmental observation station DREAMS onboard Schiaparelli, with the purpose of measuring local environmental conditions at the landing site. 

"The Finnish Meteorological Institute is well respected for its high quality space instrumentation, and we are proud to support our long time customer and partner with reliable Vaisala sensors on this research mission to Mars. The fact that Vaisala sensors reliably work in harsh Martian conditions, is a testament to our continuous investments in innovation and quality," says Vaisala CEO Kjell Forsén.



Vaisala Sensors Celebrate 30 Years of Space Research

Vaisala and the FMI have worked together for some 30 years on the field of space exploration. For example, FMI measurement devices have utilized Vaisala sensor components on the highly successful expeditions to Saturn's moon Titan in 2005 (ESA /Cassini/Huygens), Mars in 2008 (NASA/Phoenix), and Mars again in 2012 onboard NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) known as the Curiosity Rover. In addition, Vaisala sensors can also be found onboard the International Space Station, in support of life science research in space.


Resources and Materials:

Katri Ahlgren, Communications Manager, Vaisala
Tel: +358 40 3502557

European Space Agency ExoMars Program 

Vaisala website on NASA Curiosity Rover 


Vaisala is a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement. Building on 80 years of experience, Vaisala contributes to a better quality of life by providing a comprehensive range of innovative observation and measurement products and services for chosen weather-related and industrial markets. Headquartered in Finland, Vaisala employs approximately 1600 professionals worldwide and is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki stock exchange.