Perseverance touches down on Mars and Jaguar going electric: 10 top stories of the week – Professional Engineering

Perseverance touches down on Mars

The NASA Perseverance rover has safely touched down on Mars, successfully navigating a descent dubbed the seven minutes of terror. The car-sized rover will start to hunt for signs of ancient life and collect rock samples after completing a series of checks.

The Ingenuity helicopter accompanied the rover on its journey, and is expected to make its first flights soon. We previously spoke to project manager MiMi Aung about the challenges of flight on an alien planet and the innovative engineering designed to overcome them.

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On Monday (15 February), Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) announced that all new Jaguars will be electric from 2025. Automotive industry expert David Bailey said the shift is very welcome, but he said big questions remain about the necessary workforce, potential partners and car models.

Airforce Technology

The Royal Air Force has awarded a three-year contract to UK aircraft developer Aeralis for further R&D on its modular jet design. The design combines a core fuselage with different wings and engines, letting operators create the ideal plane for a variety of tasks.

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A new affordable zero-emission truck could form the basis of an Uber-style transport ecosystem in emerging markets, its developers have said. Warwickshire and Rwanda-based Ox has secured three grants worth 1.2m in the last four months for its project, which will combine the electric truck with a mobility-as-a-service model to enable low-cost sustainable transport, even in rural areas.

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Companies such as Boom Supersonic are bringing commercial supersonic flight back to the skies. Supersonic conditions create huge safety, noise and efficiency challenges, but innovative new materials are helping tackle them.


Animate materials that adapt to their environment such as self-healing paints or soft robotics have the potential to revolutionise a huge number of sectors, according to a new report from the Royal Society. Promising applications could include clothes that adapt to the wearers body temperature, or electronics that automatically disassemble after completing their task.

The Engineer

An international team of researchers has developed a 3D-printed material that can kill the Covid-19 virus. The team, including researchers from Wolverhampton University, used selective laser melting to print the material made of copper, silver and tungsten.

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Engineers at the University of California in San Diego have developed a soft, stretchy skin patch that can continuously track blood pressure and heart rate, and measure levels of glucose, lactate or caffeine. The patch, designed to be worn on the neck, is the first wearable that can monitor cardiovascular signals and biochemical levels in the human body at the same time.

The Engineer

A new disease detection device can reportedly sniff out diseases with greater sensitivity than dogs noses. The device, developed and tested by a team including researchers from MIT, uses mammalian olfactory receptors and machine learning to detect traces of prostate cancer.

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Physicists at the University of Sussex have developed a technique for making tiny microchips from graphene and other 2D materials, using a form of nano-origami. By creating kinks in the structure of the graphene, the researchers were able to make the nanomaterial behave like a transistor. When a strip of graphene is kinked in this way, it acts like a microchip, but one that is 100 times smaller than conventional microchips.

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Perseverance touches down on Mars and Jaguar going electric: 10 top stories of the week - Professional Engineering

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