Rachel is currently a Research Scientist at SETI , working at the NASA Ames Research Center with the Astrochemistry Group .
Rachel studies the surface processes of icy Solar System bodies by interpreting their infrared spectra. The majority of her work involves performing the ground truth measurements in the laboratory including calculating the complex indices of refraction of single composition ice samples. These measurements are then used to construct model spectra to interpret the chemical composition of observed spectra. She also studies the subtle changes seen in ice mixtures that are not seen in single composition samples. She has helped measure the surface binding energy of the CH4-H2O-ice system, which can be used to measure the residence time of CH4 on H2O-ice rich surfaces. Finally, she has measured how proton irradiation can change the phase of H2O-ice from crystalline phase to amorphous phase. Rachel has collaborated with her peers to collect spectra of Europa from the Keck Observatory and interpret Cassini VIMS spectra of Enceladus.
Rachel's major publications can be found on the Astrochemistry Laboratory's Publications Pages.