Japanese astronaut anxious after growth spurt in space

Japanese astronaut anxious after growth spurt in space

The 41-year-old Kanai, who went to space last month for a almost six-month mission, posted on Twitter on Monday that he had "a big announcement".

Originally, Mr Kanai had been concerned he would not be able to fit into the Russian spacecraft taking him back to Earth.

Japanese and USA astronauts Norishige Kanai and Scott Tingle arrived at the ISS on December 19, 2017. "We had our bodies measured after reaching space, and wow, wow, wow, I had actually grown by as much as 9 centimetres (3.5 inches)!"

He is a member of the International Space Station expedition 54/55 of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

NASA scientists say astronauts can grow up to three percent taller while in space or around five centimetres for someone 1.8 metres high.

The absence of gravity allows the vertebrae in the spine to spread apart in order to grow in height or stretch out.

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.

And when astronauts return to earth, so too do they return to their usual height.

"I have grown like a plant in just three weeks". "As a matter of fact, the tightness I had in my shoulders is gone so I'm pretty certain I did not grow 9 cm".

Astronauts can grow while in space and return to a normal height when they go back to Earth. "I am a bit anxious whether my body will fit in the return Soyuz seat". Kanai had better think short thoughts and spend some time pushing his head against the ISS walls to try and squash himself back down a bit.

Thankfully, with a growth of only two centimetres, he would be well below the 191-centimetre limit.

The 41-year-old Kanai, a former Maritime Self-Defense Force doctor and the 12th Japanese to travel into space, said he went back to the tape measure after fellow astronaut Anton Shkaplerov of Russian Federation questioned his newfound height.