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Incredible stretching astro man: Japanese astronaut grows 9cm in height during 3 weeks aboard ISS


Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai says he has grown by 9cm in height during the past three weeks aboard the International Space Station. He expressed concern as to whether he would fit into the spacecraft to return to Earth.

Kanai, a flight engineer on the Expedition 54/55, shared his observation on Twitter. He said he had not experienced such a rapid growth spurt since he was in school.

An increase of height is a well-studied phenomenon on space missions. A human body changes in the absence of normal gravity, with the spine becoming straighter and more elongated. Growth is usually recorded between 3cm and 5cm – a far cry from the 9cm reported by Kanai, who is also a medical doctor.

He is scheduled to return from the ISS in a Soyuz space capsule, the seats of which were modified for the Soyuz-TMA version in the early 2000s. Called Kazbek-UM, they were upgraded to accommodate crew members of up to 190cm in height and up to 95kg in weight. Previously, the limits had been 182cm and 85kg.

This is the first mission to the ISS for the 41-year-old Kanai. He arrived at the station in December 2017, along with NASA’s Scott Tingle and Russia’s Anton Shkaplerov.

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