In-situ instrumentation enables the collection of Mars data from the surface. Below are examples of the way in which the Mars Science Laboratory mission benefits from past technological development and contributes new capabilities.
Inherited Technologies and New Capabilities
Mars Science Laboratory is truly a chemistry laboratory on wheels. Going beyond just having a very powerful "fistful" of instruments as Spirit and Opportunity do, Mars Science Laboratory also takes samples onboard and analyzes them. Some instruments on Mars Science Laboratory inherited a good deal of technology from their predecessors on the Mars Exploration Rovers, but they are, indeed, "next generation" in terms of capability.