Space & Astronomy
Japanese astronaut experiences 'growth spurt'
By T.K. Randall
January 9, 2018 · 9 comments
Kanai (right) pictured alongside his Expedition 54/55 crewmates. Image Credit: NASA / Bill Ingalls
Lieutenant Norishige Kanai has grown so much while in space that he may no longer fit in the Soyuz capsule.
The peculiar phenomenon is known to occur due to the stretching of the spine in zero-gravity, however few astronauts have ever reported such a significant and rapid level of growth.
Now 9cm taller than he was a mere three weeks before arriving on the International Space Station, Kanai has expressed concern over whether he will still be able to fit inside the return Soyuz capsule which has a limited seat height due to its notoriously cramped interior.
"I have a major announcement today," Kanai wrote on social media. "We had our bodies measured after reaching space, and wow, wow, wow, I had actually grown by as much as 9cm!"
"I grew like some plant in just three weeks. Nothing like this since high school. I'm a bit worried whether I'll fit in the Soyuz seat when I go back."
Typically an astronaut's height will return to normal within a short time of arriving back on Earth.Update:
Kanai has since backtracked on his claim and now maintains that the original measurement of 9cm was an error. The actual amount by which he has grown is only 2cm, as per normal expectations.
"This mis-measurement appears to have become a big deal, so I must apologize for this terrible fake news," he wrote. "It appears I can fit on the Soyuz, so I'm relieved."
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