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    Member of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 53/54, Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), waves during a send-off ceremony at the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (File)

    Big in Japan: Astronaut Fears He's Too Tall to Return to Earth

    © AFP 2019 / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV
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    A Japanese astronaut, currently on a mission in space, fears that his sudden growth spurt might affect his chances to return to Earth.

    Norishige Kanai, a Japanese astronaut currently stationed aboard the International Space Station, ended up in a rather unique predicament as he suddenly found himself 9 centimeters (about 3.5 inches) taller than he was at the beginning of his voyage into space.

    Such growth spurts are actually far from uncommon among astronauts as human vertebrae spread apart due to the lack of gravity, though such an increase in height usually ranges from 2 to 5 centimeters (0.7 to about 2 inches).

    ​​The intrepid astronaut tweeted that he hasn't experienced such growth since high school, adding that he’s worried he might not be able to fit into a seat aboard the Soyuz spacecraft used to ferry people between ISS and Earth.

    This unusual occurrence immediately attracted the attention of social media users who started speculating about the exact nature of astronaut’s growth and which parts of his anatomy might’ve increased as well.


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