Since the two-hour excursion into space by Yuri Gagarin in 1961, manned space travel has caught the attention of scientists, entrepreneurs, and entertainers alike. For more than five decades, NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) has studied the effects of space travel to the human body. Scientists use what they learn to design devices, procedures, and strategies to keep astronauts safe and healthy throughout their space missions.

What exactly happens to the body in space and what are the risks? Here are five things that may happen to the human body after prolonged exposure to the space environment.

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