John Spray   2004 University Research Scholar

John Spray is an outstanding researcher with very high standing in the Canadian and International Space Science community.

Dr. Spray is one of the most respected members of the space exploration community and has chaired the CSA Space Exploration Advisory Committee for the past two years. Dr. Spray is also a member of two international teams based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for designing sample handling devices for NASA's future 2009 Mars Science Laboratory Mission which is strongly endorsed by President Bush and will become a strategic initiative for NASA. Dr. Spray's participation will provide UNB with a high profile role in one of the most important scientific exploration opportunities of the first half of the 21st Century. It is probable that a new low speed, lubricant free, rock drill under design by Dr. Spray and his colleagues for that mission will provide the first ever core samples of Martian rocks.

It is important to note that the research that Dr. Spray proposes falls directly within two of the major themes of the UNB Strategic Research Plan, Global Environment and Resources and Advanced Technologies and Applications. This research is also one of the major priorities of the UNB Capital Campaign, with a target of funding a Research Chair in Exploration Technology. The research is highly collaborative and will involved researchers from a number of other UNB academic units, as well as industrial researchers from a number of organizations. The opportunity for economic spin off is high, particularly for the remote exploration and drilling instruments proposed.

Dr. Spray has been building a major opportunity for UNB to become one of the principal locations for planetary and space science research in Canada, and one of the few any where with a defined role in the exploration of Mars. He also has played a major role in the supervision of graduate students and post-doctoral research, and, through the NASA sponsored Planetary Science Centre, Dr. Spray contributed to public education and outreach in space and planetary science.

Presented by Allan Sharp
Dean of Science
June 23, 2004