Connect With HRP
Stay connected with NASA's human exploration activities in and beyond low Earth orbit.
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Why We Explore
Why Do We Explore?
From the time of our birth, humans have felt a primordial urge to explore -- to blaze new trails, map new lands, and answer profound questions about ourselves and our universe. › View Site
Area of Study - Environment
Over time, the human body has evolved in response to the unique characteristics of the Earth environment. Space travel takes the human body out of its natural habitat and places it into an unknown and sometimes harsh environment. One of HRP’s primary activities is the study of the human physiological response to space travel and exploration.
HRP researchers and engineers study the human body, how it responds to different conditions, and to the situations that can arise during space exploration. Scientists use these findings to develop and test countermeasures that can reduce or reverse the potentially harmful impacts of the space environment. The major areas of HRP’s physiological research include bone health, muscle function, cardiovascular response, sensorimotor systems, immunology, and behavioral health.
The human body is a remarkably complex assembly of systems. To carry out even the simplest task requires the input and cooperation of a highly orchestrated set of subsystems, such as nerves, bones, muscles, organs, and tissues. Scientists and engineers have dedicated decades of study to understanding the limits, constraints, and challenges that face the human body in the environment of space.