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John Spray

John Spray

Director - Planetary and Space Science Centre
University of New Brunswick


Dr.John Spray is awarded PhD from University of Cambridge, UK. He holds a Master Degree from University of wales, at Cardiff, UK. He is a tier 1 Canada research chair for planetary materials and Director at Planetary and Space Science Centre. He expanded his interest in planetary impact to include ballistics R&D in relation to defence, aerospace and space applications, and has been a recipient of many award and grants. Currently, he is working as a Professor for University of New Brunswick, Canada. His international experience includes various programs, contributions and participation in different countries for diverse fields of study. His research interests as a Professor reflect in his wide range of publications in various national and international journals.

Research Interest

My primary area of interest involves high-strain rate deformation processes in natural and synthetic materials. This includes investigating the effects of shock-wave materials interactions and high-speed slip. Natural samples are studied through researching impact cratering processes and products on Earth, the Moon and Mars, including meteoritic material from the terrestrial planets, asteroids and comets. Specific interests are high-strain rate behaviour related to hypervelocity impact, including friction- and shock-induced melting and solid-state shock transformations in rocks and minerals. The evolution of planetary regoliths is also being investigated (especially for the Moon and Mars). The characterization of impact structures involves detailed field studies of terrestrial examples (mapping, sampling and remote sensing), especially at Sudbury (Ontario), as well as other Canadian impact structures (e.g., Charlevoix, Manicouagan) and others abroad. One of my primary aims is to understand the modification stage of impact crater formation, especially through studies of impact-generated radial and concentric fracture and fault systems that facilitate slumping and central uplift formation. Field studies are typically followed by lab-based work involving analytical electron microscopy (microprobe and scanning electron microscopy), major, trace and REE chemistry and radiometric dating (e.g., (U-Th)/He, Ar-Ar and U-Pb collaborative work). More recent research directions include the development of new technologies to facilitate exploration in remote terrains on Earth and for planetary applications (e.g., non-contact analytical techniques for rovers). Since 2009, I have expanded my interest in planetary impact to include ballistics R&D in relation to defence, aerospace and space applications. This is manifest in the establishment of an off-campus ballistics capability, the High-Speed Impact Research and Technology Facility, financed by industrial, federal and provincial contributions, the aim of which is the testing and development of impact-resistant materials for the protection of humans and infrastructure.