Christina Richey


NASA Headquarters
Mail Code 3C79

Washington, DC, 20024



UPDATED: I am a Contract Program Officer (for Smart Data Solutions, LLC) in the Planetary Science Division R&A Program at NASA Headquarters.  Currently, I am the Program Officer for the Cassini Data Analysis Program, as well as the Origins of Solar Systems Program.

Previously, I was a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellows at Goddard Space Flight Center with advisor Dr. Stephen Rinehart studying Optical Properties of Silicates/Carbonaceous Dust Grain Analogs in the Near-Infrared to Sub-Millimeter as a Function of Wavelength, Temperature, & Composition.  I conducted laboratory studies in the near-infrared to sub-millimeter portion of the spectrum (from 1 μm to 2000 μm) of three major types of silicates (SiO, FeSiO, and MgSiO) and three major types of carbonaceous materials graphitic materials (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and grains coated with carbonaceous mantles) to determine the optical properties associated with these dust grain analogs. This data is necessary for interpretation of observations from Spitzer and Herschel, and will be critical understanding the data from future facilities such as SOFIA, JWST, and ALMA.

I received my Ph.D. in Physics through The University of Alabama at Birmingham in May 2011 with my dissertation work of “Near-Infrared Spectroscopy of Ices Under Conditions Relevant to Interstellar and Planetary Environments”. I received my B.S. in Physics from Wheeling Jesuit University in 2004, after which I completed a M.S. in Physics at UAB in 2007.  My previous mentor was Dr. Perry A. Gerakines, who works at both UAB and in the AstroChemistry Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Under Dr. Gerakines's direction, my research interests include the investigation of changes to physical parameters (peak positions, FWHMs, shapes and intensities of peaks, as well as band strengths) in the absorption spectrum, spanning the wavelength range of 1-25 μm, of ices caused by molecular mixture, UV photolysis, and ion bombardment and the use of these results to deduce the composition of planetary bodies and determine the extent of energetic processing these ices incur.  Furthermore, I was the President of the NASA Goddard Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (NGAPS) and worked within the field of scientific policy as a member of The American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Science’s Federal Relations Subcommittee.  I have also served as Vice-President of the Scientists and Engineers for America UAB branch and have participated in many educational outreach opportunities.  I spend what little spare time I have volunteering my time to important causes (Ovarian Cancer Research into early detection methods and Animal Rights), traveling, working out (once a runner, always a runner) and spending quality time with my family and friends.

Contact Info:

Top: Selected near-IR absorbance spectra of a N2 + CH4 (5:1) ice mixture at T ∼ 5K for the prominent features studied.

Bottom: Integrated areas (in cm−1) of CH4 features plotted vs. the area (in cm−1) of the 2825 cm−1 (3.540 μm) during deposition at T ∼ 5 K. The solid lines are linear fit to the solid symbols and data point shown as empty symbols were omitted from the fits (Richey et al., ApJ, 2012).