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Dr. John Roma (J.R.) Skok


Exploring this world and the next! 

I am a planetary scientist working as postdoctoral researcher at Louisiana State University. I have been involved in Martian research since 2000 and active exploration since 2003. During my undergraduate years at Cornell University, I worked as a member of the Cornell Calibration Crew for the PANCAM instrument on the Mars Exploration Rovers. While I spent most of my research time with the Astronomy Department, I graduated with a degree in Geological Sciences from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in the College of Engineering in 2007.


I enrolled in graduate school at Brown University in 2007 to work with Professor John Mustard on the CRISM instrument on the MRO spacecraft. My focus was on the evolution of volcanic terrains and exploration of the Pre-Noachian crustal formation. Highlights also include the discovery of a hydrothermal system in the Nili Patera caldera of Syrtis Major. I have also used CRISM and other imaging data to devlop understanding of proposed landing sites for the MSL rover. In addition to my work on Mars. I had th opportunity to conduct research at several Mars analog locations, including the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica (Left) and the Rio Tinto acid mine drainage site in Spain.


Besides my scientific research, I have been active in science outreach. I volunteered at Friday night observing sessions at the Kopernik Observatory in Vestal, NY from 1999-2004, during which I also taught science summer camps for grades 1-12. At Cornell, I organized viewing and lectures at Fuertes Observatory and participated in outreach with the Astronomy Department. 


My passion for geology extends to my personal life, where I spend any spare time exploring mountains and caves. I have caved extensively in the Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia (TAG) region and have mapped on expeditions in Virginia, Hawaii and international expeditions to Mexico and China. 

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