Mark Berggren has a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He has over 28 years of experience in research and development, pilot-scale demonstration, and commercial operations involving terrestrial gas-solid reactions, mineral and metal separations and refining, resource utilization, energy topics, and recycling. He worked at Amax Research & Development and Hazen Research prior to joining Pioneer Astronautics. Since joining Pioneer in 2000, he has been applying his experience to lunar and Martian in-situ resource utilization.
Mark was principal investigator on a NASA JSC Phase I SBIR program entitled “Mars Aqueous Processing System”, which demonstrated the ability to extract and selectively recover iron, silicon, aluminum, and magnesium oxides as high quality products from Mars simulants. During Phase II, the technology is being refined in support of the preparation of process designs for lunar oxygen generation and Mars materials production.
He served as lead engineer on the NASA JSC Phase II NOBOSS project to develop a thermal catalytic process for dissociation of nitrous oxide into personal breathing air for space, marine, and terrestrial applications. During the course of the project, a dissociation reactor and associated components were incorporated into a fully functional prototype backpack.
Mark is lead engineer on the Lift Gas Cracker program being conducted for NASAâ€™s Goddard Space Flight Center. During the Phase I program he led the design, fabrication, and testing of a portable methanol steam reformer including integrated combustion and heat exchange systems. The portable Lift Gas Cracker was used to inflate a stratospheric research balloon that carried smaller zero-pressure test balloons and a suite of telemetry and temperature instruments to 100,000 feet. During Phase II, technologies to increase the duration of stratospheric research balloon flight are being developed.
Mark participated on the Pioneer team to develop a Sea Glider based on an innovative ballast control system. He has also participated on Pioneerâ€™s Phase I Carbon Monoxide Metal Oxide Reduction System project, Phase II Mars Microballoon project, Phase II Methane to Aromatics on Mars project, and several other NASA SBIR programs. In addition, he has worked on commercially-sponsored and in-house nitrous oxide conversion programs, in-situ resource utilization projects, and hydrocarbon conversion projects.
Mark has eight patents and is a Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado, a member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME), and a member of the Mars Society.