"Inventions From Outer Space: Everyday Uses for NASA Technology" by David Baker (Random House, 128 pages, $25)
Everybody -- well, almost everybody -- knows that the United States' sustained commitment to space flight and exploration has produced miracles. The least of them, in impact on daily life, may be the record of human feet leaving prints on the surface of the moon. Now comes this entertaining, clearly written and even more instructively illustrated inventory of the byproducts of space research. The familiars -- Tang, Teflon and space ice cream -- are marginalized in favor of profoundly significant breakthroughs in engineering, chemistry and physics that today are curing, comforting and enhancing lives -- for millions.