It's typical for astronauts in space to grow in height up to two inches. But 3-1/2 inches? Not so common, according to NASA.
However, Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai, who is currently at the International Space Station, tweeted this morning that he's grown 9 centimeters, or 3-1/2 inches, in space, and that he's "a little worried" that he won't be able to fit into the tight quarters of the vehicle used to transport him from the ISS back to Earth's atmosphere.
“Good morning, everyone. Today I share some serious news. Since coming to space, I have grown 9 centimeters. This is the most I’ve grown in 3 weeks since junior high school. I am a little worried I won’t fit in my seat on the return trip on Soyuz." [This translation is from The Washington Post.]
みなさま、おはようございます。今日は重大なご報告があります。実は、宇宙に着いてからの身体計測があったのですが、な、な、なんと、身長が9センチも伸びていたんです！たった3週間でニョキニョキと。こんなの中高生のとき以来です。帰りのソユーズの座席に体が収まるか、ちょっと心配です。— 金井 宣茂 (@Astro_Kanai) January 8, 2018
Kanai is mostly likely just kidding about being too tall to travel back to Earth (Hollywood, take notes for your next screenplay!), but growing too many inches in space could potentially cause problems for astronauts once its time to head back home. According to the Washington Post:
While it is temporary, and astronauts return to their normal height when they slip the bonds of space and return home, the height difference has an immediate impact on the dimensions of space suits, stations and vehicles. Space is a premium in, well, space, with each inch scrutinized to pack in instruments, tools, plants and insects for experiments and other essentials like food and water.Read the rest