In early 2370, the science vessel, and her crew of seven, was assigned to conduct a science mission of the gas giant Marijne VII. According to the Raman's mission plans, it was to descend to the lower atmosphere, where the crew was to sample the atmosphere at that level, and then return to a safer orbit.
After entering the lower atmosphere of the planet, the Raman accidentally picked up some subspace beings that lived in the lower atmosphere. These lifeforms tried to communicate with the crew of the Raman during the ship's ascent by directly accessing their thoughts; however, the attempt proved fatal to the Raman's crew.
On stardate 47215.5, the USS Enterprise-D responded to a distress call from the Raman after the science vessel became trapped inside the planet's turbulent atmosphere. Upon the Enterprise's arrival, the Raman was discovered at a position, in the troposphere, 11,000 kilometers above its lowest descent point.
The Enterprise crew boarded the vessel via an interface probe, controlled by Geordi La Forge, at a position directly to the aft section of the Raman, through its secondary air lock, one bulkhead away from the bridge. It was not far from this access point that the probe discovered one of the ship's dead crewmembers. The probe later found the remaining crew in the nearby magnetic storage bay.
After determining that the crew of the Raman was dead, Captain Jean-Luc Picard hoped to retrieve the vessel. With the Raman's bridge too heavily damaged, the interface probe was taken into the Raman's auxiliary control room. It was in the auxiliary control room that La Forge discovered what he believed to be an image of his mother, whose ship, the USS Hera, had previously disappeared. This image of his mother, who was actually a subspace being, convinced La Forge to take the Raman into a low stationary orbit so that it could return to its home.
Upon taking the Raman into a lower orbit, he was able to successfully return the subspace beings to their home; however, in the process, the ship's shields failed, and the ship was destroyed in the planet's atmosphere. (TNG: "Interface")
The Raman was one of the few Federation starships whose interior was visited on screen, but whose class was left unknown. Producer Peter Lauritson has expressed disappointment that there was no opportunity to depict the exterior of the ship. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 264))
According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 2, p. 202), the Raman was an Oberth-class starship with registry number NCC-59983. This registry contradicts the registry shown (NCC-29487) in the on-screen okudagram. It was also stated in the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 2, p. 202) that the Raman was named for Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, an Indian physicist who was awarded the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the molecular scattering of light.