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Expedition 54 flight engineer Norishige Kanai is seen in quarantine behind glass during a press conference in December 2017. ABACA via PA Images
to boldly grow

Japanese astronaut apologises after saying he'd grown 9cm while in space

His Russian captain suspected that 9cm was “too much elongation”. He was right.

A JAPANESE ASTRONAUT has sparked hilarity back on Earth after he claimed to have grown nine centimetres in space, only to retract the claim after remeasuring himself.

Norishige Kanai, who is aboard the International Space Station, tweeted: “We had our bodies measured after reaching space, and wow, wow, wow, I had actually grown by as much as nine centimetres (3.5 inches)!”

“I have grown like a plant in just three weeks,” he said, adding that he had not experienced a growth spurt like this since high school.

“I’m a bit worried whether I’ll fit in the Soyuz seat (a capsule pod) when I go back,” he said, prompting tens of thousands of reactions on social media.

Japanese Twitter user @KakeruTokyo said: “Can somebody please take me to space? I want to grow taller.”

Another user, @junnu_pana6mana, tweeted: “Mr Kanai, I envy you. I wonder if I could have had a different life if I were 10 centimetres taller?”

Astronauts’ spines can extend in the zero-gravity environment of space, making them slightly taller. This returns to normal when they go back to Earth and its gravitational field.

However, Kanai re-measured himself after a Russian colleague told him a nine-centimetre growth spurt was unlikely and had to correct his tall tale after finding he had only grown by two centimetres.

He later tweeted apologies for what he described as “fake news”.

“I’m a bit relieved as I’ll probably fit into the Soyuz back home,” he said.

© – AFP, 2018

Read: James Franco addresses sexual misconduct claims on US late night talk show

Read: Bruce McCandless, the first astronaut to fly untethered in space, has died

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