Weekly News Bites: Shiny sea cucumbers, floppy needles, and exactly how big is the sun?

Asia Research News monitors the latest research news in Asia. Some highlights that caught our attention this week are sea cucumbers that glow in the dark, a needle that softens at body temperature, and the real size of our sun.

Sea cucumbers come in many shapes and sizes but can look pretty boring. That’s only at the surface however, as Nagoya University researchers have found that some deep-sea cucumbers are bioluminescent and glow down in the depths. The function of this luminescence is still a mystery.

AI might not replace jobs yet, but it can already perform some parts a lot faster. An “AI chemist” created by the University of Science and Technology of China has sifted through millions of molecules to find one that can be used to make oxygen on Mars.

Medical needles need to be stiff enough to poke through layers of skin to reach the vein but this can also lead to injuries for the patient or caregiver during or after injection. The needles can hurt the delicate veins or someone can get poked by the sharp tip on removal. KAIST scientists have made a safer needle that softens when inside the body. The needle is made of gallium which softens at around body temperature.

How big is the sun? Just like it is difficult for us to go out and measure it ourselves, it has also been difficult for the scientific community to come to a consensus. However, University of Tokyo and Cambridge University scientists have confirmed that it is not as big as we thought it was. They measured p-waves that are emitted by material moving inside the sun to confirm its size.