James Wray

Associate Professor
School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Ford ES&T Building, Rm. 2234
Professor Wray uses spacecraft imaging, spectral, and in situ data to explore planetary surface compositions, morphologies, and stratigraphies in order to characterize when and where habitable environments have existed on other worlds. As a collaborator on the Curiosity Mars rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, he uses mass spectrometry and tunable laser spectrometry to search for organic molecules and other volatile compounds evolved from the soils and rocks of Gale Crater. As a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter co-investigator, Wray contributes to the targeting and analysis of infrared spectral images to map minerals across the Martian surface and compare their distributions to textural observations made from high-resolution images. He is also a co-investigator on the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS), selected for launch in 2016 aboard ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, and is working to help refine the science objectives and instrument design parameters for that investigation.