In this episode of the Engineering Update, brought to you by Mouser Electronics:
NASA's flying saucer
Future voyages to Mars would need to address the physiological strain on the astronauts, the length of the trip, itself, and ferrying the necessary payload to sustain human life for a protracted mission. The first two problems could be insurmountable, but to deal with the latter, NASA is currently testing its own prototype for a hypersonic flying saucer.
See: Photos of the Day: NASA's flying saucer
Embedding tiny cameras in smart contact lenses
Though the Google highlight of this week was the availability of Google Glass to the public for the low low price of $1,500, the more interesting news is that the company put in a patent application for what might become the future of the technology. This patent seeks to embed tiny cameras in the already patented smart contact lenses that would have similar uses to Google glass.
A spacesuit powered by urine
Staying on the topic of Mars ... getting to the red planet will take almost a year one-way, so astronauts will need to maximize their resources, including as it turns out, their urine. Resupplying a vessel hurtling toward Mars will prove prohibitively expensive, making basic resources — like water — a scarce commodity.