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Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Microgravity Made an ISS Astronaut Grow 3.5 Inches Taller

Microgravity Made an ISS Astronaut Grow 3.5 Inches Taller

The 41-year-old Kanai, who went to space last month for a almost six-month mission, posted on Twitter on Monday that he had "a big announcement".

While the three inches he's gained have put him at around six feet tall, the Russian Soyuz TMA Descent Module is created to fit astronauts of up to six foot three inches, meaning that Kanai still has a little more growing room before he'd struggle to fit.

And just as Twitter users bombarded Kanai with messages of envy on his newfound ability to reach things on the top shelf, doubts about the measurements began to weigh in on the astronaut's mind after his colleague suggested such a spurt was unlikely, the Japan Times reported. "Since coming to space, I have grown 9 centimeters". Astronauts get taller in space because the absence of gravity allows the vertebrae in their spines to spread apart. "In only three weeks I've really shot up, something I haven't seen since high school", he originally tweeted.

And when astronauts return to earth, so too do they return to their usual height.

Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth after a year in space to find that he was two inches taller than his own twin brother, NASA said. I'm a bit anxious whether I'll fit in the Soyuz seat when I go back'.

Astronauts can grow while in space and return to a normal height when they go back to Earth.

NASA says that most astronauts grow by up to 3% during stints on the Space Station, in an example of, 'f how microgravity affects our bodies.

"Nine centimetres is a lot, but it is possible, knowing that every human body is different", Libby Jackson of the UK Space Agency had told BBC News.

"There's a range of growth for different people, and everybody responds differently".

An astronaut fears he's grown so much while in space he might not be able to fit into his transport back to Earth. He'd have to grow more than another 9cm for his height to become a problem.

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