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Astronaut grows three and a half inches taller after stay on the International Space Station

Mirror logo Mirror 09-01-2018 Stephen White

person wearing a hat: Credits: Reuters

Credits: Reuters
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited

An astronaut has rocketed in height – after arriving at the International Space Station.

Norishige Kanai has grown three and a half inches only three weeks after going into orbit.

The Japanese doctor now fears he will not fit into the seat of the Russian Soyuz due to bring him home in June.

Astronauts can grow an average of between one and two inches in space, as absence of gravity allows vertebrae­ in spines to spread apart – but Norishige, 42, seems to be beating most records.

There is no gain without pain and expanding spines can cause pain similar to a muscle spasm on Earth.

However Norishige seemed more in awe than worried and tweeted: “Good morning, everybody­. I have a major announcement­ today.

“We had our bodies measured­ after reaching space, and wow, wow, wow, I had actually grown by as much as 9cm! [three and a half inches]. 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.”

The Soyuz which takes astronauts from and to Earth has a limit on seating height. If crew members become too tall, it could pose a problem.

“Nine centimetres is a lot, but it is possible, every human is different,” Libby Jackson of the UK Space Agency said.

“You do get taller in space as your spine drifts apart, usually by about two to five centimetres.”

This is the first space mission for Norishige who was previously a diving medical officer with the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force.

Astronauts return to their regular height when back on Earth.

While on the space station they combat growth by pushing their arms on the ceiling and bracing their feet on the floor to compress their spines.

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