Japanese astronaut thanks Russian commander for spotting 'measurement mistake'

Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai on the International Space Station

A Japanese astronaut has apologised for wrongly stating he has grown 9cm (3.5in) since arriving at the International Space Station (ISS) just over three weeks ago.

Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who grew two inches on his 138-day stay on the International Space Station in 2017, told ABC News it was a very uncomfortable ride home from the space station.

"I have a major announcement today", Kanai wrote in Japanese, as translated by the BBC. I haven't grown like this since high school.

The Japanese astronaut earlier anxious that he would not be able to fit into the Soyuz seat when going back home at the end of the expedition.

This is the first space mission for the Japanese astronaut who was previously a diving medical officer with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

This is because of the absence of gravity which allows the vertebrae in their spines to spread apart.

It's not a long-term effect of space exploration.

And when astronauts return to earth, so too do they return to their usual height. He had earlier expressed his concerns about whether he will be able to safely return to Earth or not.

"Nine centimetres is a lot, but it is possible, knowing that every human body is different".

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

In his tweet, Kanai said the crew had their bodies measured after reaching space and initial measurements put him at over 3.5 inches taller than on Earth, making the astronaut fearful because the Soyuz spacecraft he needs to use to come home has a height limit of 6-foot-4.

After an influx of media interest-and questions from his captain-Kanai chose to remeasure himself to find out how tall he had actually become.

There are also around five more uncertain months of Kanai living on the space station. This time round he was just less than an inch taller than originally believed.

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