Norishige Kanai: Astronaut Grows 3.5 Inches in 3 Weeks in Space

金井 宣茂 on Twitter:

Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai says that he has grown 9cm in just three weeks - and now worries he won't fit into the capsule to return to our planet.

However, Kanai re-measured himself and, in a follow-up tweet, said he came in at a much more normal 0.79 inches.

"This mis-measurement appears to have become a big deal, so I must apologize for this bad fake news", he tweeted, without explaining how the original miscalculation had occurred.

His original incorrect claim sparked global fascination among social media users.

Astronauts do tend to "grow" while in space, although growing 9cm in three weeks would be highly unusual.

This is because of the absence of gravity which allows the vertebrae in their spines to spread apart.

"I grew like some plant in just three weeks", Kanai wrote. I have a major announcement today. I had physical measurements since I got to space. Nothing like this since high school.

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"This makes me a little anxious that I might not be able to fit in the Soyuz seats for our return".

But later on, he tweeted that his Russian commander on the ISS, Anton Shkaplerov, was sceptical, "so I quickly measured myself and was roughly 182 cm". Then a third person measures the first person's height.

"According to my quick calculations here, I seem to have grown about an inch or so", formerly 191 centimetres-tall astronaut Richard Hieb told controllers in 1994.

Mr Kanai said he was a "bit relieved", adding: "I'll probably fit into the Soyuz when I go home". There's a very real problem with astronauts experiencing premature aging while in space, and this is usually controlled by limiting the length of time spent on the space station with relatively regular trips back down to Earth.

The Soyuz spacecraft that ferries astronauts to and from the Space Station does have a height limit and is built for specific height requirements.

Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth after a year in space to find that he was two inches taller than his own twin brother, NASA said.

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