Engineering news

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

Professional Engineering

A view of the Martian surface from the NASA Mars Perseverance rover (Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech)
A view of the Martian surface from the NASA Mars Perseverance rover (Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech)

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.

Jaguar going all-electric

Professional Engineering

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.

RAF boosts modular jet R&D

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.

Uber-style start-up developing zero-emission truck for emerging markets

Professional Engineering

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.

Commercial supersonic flight returning thanks to material gains

Professional Engineering

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’ could revolutionise engineering and beyond


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 wearer’s body temperature, or electronics that automatically disassemble after completing their task.

3D-printed surface kills Covid-19 virus

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.

Stretchy skin patch monitors health

Professional Engineering

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.

Detection device could sniff out early signs of disease

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.

Graphene ‘nano-origami’ could make smallest microchips ever

Professional Engineering

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.

Want the best engineering stories delivered straight to your inbox? The Professional Engineering newsletter gives you vital updates on the most cutting-edge engineering and exciting new job opportunities. To sign up, click here.

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


Professional Engineering magazine

Current Issue: Issue 6, 2021

Issue 6 2021 cover online

View all

Professional Engineering app

  • Industry features and content
  • Engineering and Institution news
  • News and features exclusive to app users

Download our Professional Engineering app

Professional Engineering newsletter

A weekly round-up of the most popular and topical stories featured on our website, so you won't miss anything

Subscribe to Professional Engineering newsletter

Opt into your industry sector newsletter

Related articles