Japanese astronaut apologizes for incorrect growth spurt in space

Norishige Kanai
Astronaut Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. (NASA)

A Japanese astronaut has apologized after the incredible growth spurt that he reportedly experienced in space turned out to be a case of incorrect measurement.

Norishige Kanai, who is currently on a mission in the International Space Station (ISS), previously shared over Twitter his amazing growth spurt while travelling in space, claiming that he has grown around three and a half inches taller.

“Today I have a critical report. My height’s been measured here in space and somehow, somehow, I’ve grown 9 cm! In only three weeks I’ve really shot up, something I haven’t seen since high school,” Kanai wrote on his Twitter account.

Kanai also expressed worry about being able to fit in the seats of the Soyuz aircraft, which will be used when the astronauts go back to Earth.

His tweet caused a commotion over the internet because of how incredible the growth spurt was. The post garnered thousands of reactions over the social media platform, with many expressing envy over the astronaut’s new height.

However, after a Russian colleague expressed skepticism over his news, they decided to measure his height once again, and they found out that there was an overestimation on the first measurement of the astronaut. The new measurement showed that Kanai only grew about an inch since leaving Earth.

“This mis-measurement appears to have become a big deal, so I must apologize for this terrible fake news,” Kanai tweeted. “It appears I can fit on the Soyuz, so I‘m relieved.”

Astronauts getting taller during space missions is a usual phenomenon, with astronauts growing up to two inches in space. This is because the human body’s spine is built like a spring, and stretches in conditions where there is no gravity pushing down the vertebrae.

This only happens in space, however. Once back on earth, an astronaut will also go back to his or her original height, as Earth’s gravity will exert its pull on the spinal column once again.