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).
A Japanese astronaut who is living on the International Space Station says he has grown 9cm (3.5in) since arriving there just over three weeks ago.— Nick Donnelly (@ProtecttheFaith) 9 января 2018 г.
He is worried he would not fit into the seat of the Russian Soyuz vehicle that is due to bring him home in June. https://t.co/4RwHGMkjuX
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.
Wow @Astro_Kanai has grown 9cm since he arrived on @Space_Station 3 weeks ago! Astronauts grow on average 2-5cm in space due to lack of gravity allowing their vertebrae in their spines to spread out. Fingers crossed they have adjustable seats in Soyuz rocket for his return home.— GlasgowScienceCentre (@gsc1) 9 января 2018 г.
GAIN 3.5 INCHES should be NASA’s next recruitment ad.— non_opossum (@non_opossum) 9 января 2018 г.