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Mission & MMRS Teams

    Our Mars Microbeam Raman Spectrometer (MMRS) was originally under development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as part of the  Athena scientific instrument rover payload selected for 2001 & 2003 Mars Surveyor missions. These missions were cancelled, and the Raman spectrometer was omitted from the Athena payload on the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) because it was not yet flight-ready. The development of the MMRS is continuing in anticipation of a landed Mars mission in 2009.

The Athena package carries instruments synergistically complementary to the MMRS

                -- We expect the instrument package for 2009 mission will do the same.

Athena Rover Athena Rover functions 2003 Mars exploration Rover
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  1. Provide colored stereo images
  2. Provide chemical compositions
  3. Characterize minerals and other phases
  4. Make sample selection
  5. Collect and store the samples

Remote sensing



In Situ sensing


Mössbauer spectrometer

Microscopic imager

Sample preparation

Rock abrasion tool


2003 Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission




Launch date May 50, 2003 June 25, 2003
Landing date January 4, 2004 January 25, 2004


MER-A , MER-B, and the spare FM of 1997 Sojourner rover Mast of MER (Pancam + mini-TES) Instruments on robotic arm (APXS, MOS, MI, RAT)


What an on-surface Raman system will do?

using two-unit configuration

task I -- study Mars rocks and soils

task II -- study cored samples

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  1. Study weathered rock surfaces
  2. Identify minerals & classify rocks
  3. Look for evidence of past environments
  4. Look for evidence of past life
  5. Select the best rocks to drill
  1. Study  fresh rock surfaces
  2. Determine original mineralogy & petrology
  3. Look for water-bearing phases & sedimentary minerals
  4. Look for organic phases and reduced carbon
  5. Evaluate core samples to be brought back to Earth


Mars Microbeam Raman Spectrometer team members:

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MMRS PI Larry Haskin MMRS Co-I and development physicist Alian Wang

MMRS Co-I, Tom Wdowiak at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

MMRS Co-I, Steve Squyres at Cornell University.


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System engineers --Lonne Lane and Bob Wilson

One of the weekly engineering team meetings at JPL, Nasrat, Bob, Ken, Lonne, Larry, Chris, Joe, Mike.

Opto-mechanical engineer Christ Smith is working on adjusting the spectrograph of current advanced brassboard of MMRS 

Our  "do all" engineer Ken Manatt
Sometimes, Larry, Alian, and Tom go to JPL to "pester" our engineering team.


Reference: Morris R. V., Squyres S. W., Bell J. F., Christensen P. H., Economou T., Klingelhofer G., Held P., Haskin L. A., Wang A., Jolliff B. L., Rieder R., “Analyses of Martian surface materials during the Mars Surveyor 2001 mission by the Athena instrument payload”, Twenty-ninth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 1998.

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