TES NEWS Volume 4, Number 1, February 1995

The Latest on Mars Global Surveyor TES

TES Will Stay at SBRC

The good news for the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) came in mid-December: the new spacecraft instrument will be completely assembled and tested at the Hughes Santa Barbara Research Center (SBRC) in Goleta, California.

SBRC built the original TES that flew on Mars Observer in 1992. They had begun work on the new TES, sometimes referred to as TES II, after Mars Observer went missing in 1993. In mid-1994, Hughes decided to move the SBRC operation to a facility in El Segundo, California, near Los Angeles. This change in plans had the potential to tighten the TES schedule (see TES News for November-December 1994). TES needs to be assembled, calibrated, and delivered to Martin Marietta's facility in Denver, Colorado, (where the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft is being built) by April 1996. Hughes reversed its decision to move from SBRC in mid-December. SBRC has a reputation for producing high quality spacecraft instruments, including the thermal infrared radiometers that were aboard the U.S. Mars spacecraft of the 1960s and 1970s.


The Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) will look at Mars in the infrared. This instrument will help scientists map the composition of rocks and soil on the surface of the Red Planet. It will also observe changes in the polar caps, measure the profile of dust and water vapor in the atmosphere, and provide information about surface and atmospheric temperatures. The TES shown here was flown on the lost Mars Observer. A new TES is being built by the Hughes Santa Barbara Research Center (SBRC) for Mars Global Surveyor. TES is directed from a facility on the Arizona State University campus.

ASU Shop Approved for Work on TES Parts

Something made in Arizona will soon be orbiting the Red Planet. The ASU Physical Sciences Machine Shop, directed by Mr. Bob Taylor, was recently certified by NASA to make spaceflight quality parts. In December, two representatives from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) visited the shop on ASU's campus to evaluate the work done there. The Machine Shop will produce six components that go into the structure of the TES instrument. This opportunity did not exist when the Mars Observer TES was built in 1985-91.

Many of the parts that go into TES are purchased by SBRC from small contractors that specialize in making specific parts that go into spacecraft instruments. The parts are ordered by SBRC and shipped to Santa Barbara for inclusion into the TES. The parts being produced at ASU will be complete this Spring.

TES Science Team to Meet

The scientists involved with the TES project have not been together in the same room since July 1993, when each presented observation plans for the first few months of what was to be the Mars Observer TES mission. The TES science team has scheduled to meet at ASU January 31 - February 1, 1995, to discuss their plans and learn the status of the new Mars Global Surveyor TES, set for launch in November 1996.

Back to Contents of TES News February 1995

K.S. Edgett, January 1995

Arizona Mars K-12 Education Program / edgett@elvis.mars.asu.edu