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Japanese astronaut thanks Russian commander for spotting ‘measurement mistake’

January 10, 12:02 UTC+3 TOKYO

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

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Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai

Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai

© AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

TOKYO, January 10. /TASS/. Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai, who earlier reported an unusual 9-cm growth spurt over the past three weeks aboard the International Space Station, wrote on Twitter this was a mistake that had been identified by Russian cosmonaut and expedition commander Anton Shkaplerov.

"The Russian commander told me that the 9-cm growth in height is too much. After that I conducted the measurements myself and it turned out that my height is 182 cm or just 2 cm more than on the Earth," the astronaut tweeted in Japanese. "Apparently, this was a measurement mistake, I’m sorry for the fake news."

Kanai thanked his Russian counterpart for his advice that helped him pinpoint the error. "Shkaplerov is a true veteran [in space]," he wrote.

The original claim whipped up global curiosity among social media users. On average, astronauts grow between 2 cm and 5 cm in space. The growth spurt in height occurs because their spines stretch out due to the absence of gravity in space.

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

Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Japanese and US astronauts Norishige Kanai and Scott Tingle arrived at the ISS on December 19, 2017. 

Their mission in orbit is expected to last for about four months. They will be working with the cargo spacecraft Progress MS, Dragon and Cygnus. In addition, they will send back the Soyuz MS-06 descent capsule to Earth with the crew of the ISS 53/54 expedition, and welcome the next manned spacecraft Soyuz MS-08. Also, they are to carry out 51 research experiments.

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