"The cargo bay shows all of the items you have in the shuttle. Frome here you can see details about the items you have discovered as well as hints on where/how you might find the ones you are still missing. Simply select an item from the list on the right."
Cargo is divided into 16 section types, most having 8 materials or components. You can find a list of thing you can collect check out the Base Elements, other listing can be found on the Research Nexus and again on the Engineering Bay.
The cargo bay area only gives you information of quantities of what you have on hand and clues as to where you can find them. To learn how to make new things you must use the Research Nexus. To make things you have discovered, you have to use the Manufacturing Bay.