We describe a global atmospheric data assimilation scheme that has been adapted for use with a Martian General Circulation Model (GCM), with the ultimate goal of creating globally and temporally interpolated “reanalysis” data sets from planetary atmospheric observations. The system uses the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART) software to apply an Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF) to the MarsWRF GCM. Specific application to Mars also required the development of a radiance forward model for near‐nadir Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) observations. Preliminary results from an assimilation of 40 sols of TES radiance data, taken around Ls = 150° (August 1999, Mars Year 24), are provided. 1.3 million TES observations are ingested and used to improve the state prediction by the GCM, with bias and error reductions obtained throughout the state vector. Results from the assimilation suggest steepening of the latitudinal and vertical thermal gradients with concurrent strengthening of the mid‐latitude zonal jets, and a slower recession of the southern polar ice edge than predicted by the unaided GCM. Limitations of the prescribed dust model are highlighted by the presence of an atmospheric radiance bias. Preliminary results suggest the prescribed dust vertical profile might not be suitable for all seasons, in accordance with more recent observations of the vertical distribution of dust by the Mars Climate Sounder. The tools developed using this DA system are available at http://www.marsclimatecenter.com. A tutorial and example TES radiance assimilation are also provided.