Press Release

Raytheon Mini-TES Instruments Successfully Performing Remote Sensing of Mars Environment

By SpaceRef Editor
March 25, 2004
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Raytheon’s Miniature
Thermal Emission Spectrometers are playing a key role in NASA’s ongoing Mars
Exploration Rover Project by examining the mineral composition of the Mars
environment. Both Mini-TES instruments, installed on Mars rovers Spirit and
Opportunity, have been operating successfully since the rovers landed on Mars
in January.

Mini-TES is a compact, high power sensor that will collect a variety of
data on Mars’ physical composition and atmosphere, helping scientists to
evaluate whether its environment was ever conducive to life. Using the latest
in infrared technology, the sensors remotely examine the mineral makeup of the
surrounding rocks and soil to identify the mineralogy of all geologic
materials including silicates, carbonates, sulfates, phosphates, oxides and
hydroxides. Mini-TES will also measure the lower atmosphere boundary layer and
provide information on suspended dust, water ice, and water vapor opacity.

“The two Mini-TES instruments we’ve put on the surface of Mars are the
culmination of 20 years of collaboration between Raytheon and Arizona State
University,” said Dr. Phil Christensen, ASU Professor of Geology and Principal
Investigator for the Mini-TES program. “For me, this has been a remarkable
opportunity to work with some of the most talented people I’ve ever known and
accomplish things that were beyond my wildest dreams.”

Mini-TES is a miniaturized version of the Thermal Emission Spectrometer
developed for the Mars Global Surveyor mission launched in 1996. TES has been
successfully providing data to scientists since it went into operation in
1998, and it helped select landing sites for the current Mars rovers. “Mars
exploration is an exciting and important endeavor for Raytheon,” said Jack
Kelble, president of Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business. “We’re
proud to be at the forefront of space technology and help NASA make
discoveries that will influence future generations.”

Raytheon’s Santa Barbara Remote Sensing organization, developers of both
TES and Mini-TES, now has four working infrared sensors operating in the
Martian environment, including the Thermal Emission Imaging System on the Mars
Odyssey orbiting spacecraft.

Raytheon Company , with 2003 sales of $18.1 billion, is an
industry leader in defense and government electronics, space, information
technology, technical services, and business and special mission aircraft.
With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 78,000 people worldwide.

SpaceRef staff editor.