It’s not all rocket science. The rumours were wrong about the agency’s invention of Tang or Velcro, but its discoveries have many applications in our day-to-day lives. From life-saving heart pumps to shark identification, Isabelle Taft explores the success stories of NASA’s 1,500 annual new inventions. “Providing a figure, a return on investment for technology transfer investments is also a dangerous game for the agency. Put too much emphasis on NASA’s financial benefits here on earth, and critics will only insist that the number needs to be higher. For that reason, and because they prefer to advocate for space exploration for its own sake, space enthusiasts are wary of too much talk about spinoffs.” This story was originally published in The American Scholar in 2019.