Friday, 21 September, 2018

Astronaut anxious about transport home after space growth spurt

Astronomers ISS space Space fever health Pixabay
Doris Mccormick | 10 January, 2018, 06:26

Most astronauts go into space can expect to grow by two to five centimetres, but Kanai's growth is quite unusual.

Norishige Kanai wrote on social media he was anxious he would not fit into the seat of the Russian Soyuz vehicle that is due to bring him home in June.

On Jan. 8 Norishige Kanai, a 41-year-old rookie astronaut with JAXA, Japan's space agency, tweeted his shock that he had measured 9 cm taller than on the day of his departure. I have a major announcement today. "Since coming to space, I have grown nine centimetres". However, the spurt is short-lived; most astronauts will return to their normal height after only a couple of weeks upon their return to Earth. I haven't grown like this since high school.

"Nine centimetres is a lot, but it is possible, knowing that every human body is different", said Libby Jackson, a program manager for the United Kingdom Space Agency, the BBC reported.

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What's rare is the rate and amount Lt Kanai has grown in three weeks of living on the space lab. On the Russian Soyuz TMA spacecraft station, the vehicle used to get astronauts to and from the ISS, personnel are limited to 192cm so they can fit inside the seats.

The Soyuz spacecraft which takes the astronauts from and to Earth has a limit on seating height. The country's first astronauts, the legendary Mercury 7 crew including John Glenn and Alan Shepard, were all under 6 feet - it would have been too much for anyone taller inside the claustrophobic Mercury capsule.

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. Aboard the Russian rocket are Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, U.S. astronaut Scott Tingle, and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai. There's a very real problem with astronauts experiencing premature aging while in space, and this is usually controlled by limiting the length of time spent on the space station with relatively regular trips back down to Earth.

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