Astronauts growing onboard the International Space Station is nothing new. However, Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai wrote on his Twitter account that he grew an incredible 3.5 inches within only three weeks of space travel. As mentioned, astronauts getting slightly taller during space travel is commonly found, though 3.5 inches in such a short period of time is slightly surprising. Nevertheless, Kanai wrote a new report notifying that the surprising growth was a measuring error and apologized for spreading fake news on his height.
As explained by Newsweek, as a result of the gravitational force on Earth, there is pressure that acts on our spines, resulting in minor shrinkage during the day. However, our spines return to its original height as we sleep horizontally. On the other hand, on the International Space Station, the impact of gravity is greatly reduced which results in their spines being able to stretch even more. Usually, this means no more than a couple inches in growth, which is why it was odd to hear of an astronaut’s growth of 3.5 inches in only three weeks.
Nevertheless, their height returns back to normal when they return back to Earth, due to the increased force of gravity again.
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Kanai Apologizes For Spreading Fake News On His Height
After the media was so intrigued by the Japanese astronaut’s sudden massive growth, and questions came from his captain, Kanai decided to measure himself once more to recheck his actual height. This time, however, the scales showed that he was a little less than an inch taller than initially thought.
After that he posted again on Twitter to let everyone know that his growth was a measuring error and to apologize for spreading fake news on his height.
“This miss-measurement appears to have become a big deal, so I must apologize for this terrible fake news … It appears I can fit on the Soyuz, so I’m relieved.”
Originally, he had tweeted: “My height’s been measured here in space and somehow, somehow, I’ve grown 9cm (3.5 inches)! In only three weeks I’ve really shot up, something I haven’t seen since high school.” He added, making a joke regarding his “new” height, “This makes me a little worried that I might not be able to fit in the Soyuz seats for our return.”
Nevertheless, Kanai still has enough time to grow and stretch out while in space. It’s estimated that he’ll return to Earth in April.