My name is Commander Smith and the spaceship that I command has been exploring the planet known as Earth for almost a year. We have discovered that Earth is very different from our planet. Our next job was to explore the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. These states make up the Southwest region.
First, we had to backtrack a little and fly east to Texas. This is a huge state— the map showed that it was more than seven hundred miles wide. Later we found out that Texas is the second largest state in size, after Alaska. It is also the second largest state in population, after California. We certainly saw a lot of really big things in Texas— big cities, big oil fields, and big ranches. In fact, we found out that there is a ranch in Texas that is bigger than the whole state of Rhode Island! Texas raises more cattle than any other state. The cowboy, a person who takes care of the cattle, is a symbol of Texas. In the late 1800s, Texas cowboys drove the cattle hundreds of miles to market in the northern states.
It was hard, dangerous, adventurous work, so many people thought of cowboys as heroes. Over time, the cattle ranches changed so that there was less need for cowboys. Today, there are not as many cowboys in
Texas. There are, however, many Texans who still dress like cowboys. They wear cowboy boots and a kind of tall cowboy hat they call a ten- gallon- hat because it looks as if it could hold that much water. Another symbol of Texas is the oil well. Texas produces more oil than any other state. Oil was first discovered near the city of Houston in the early 1900s.
Today, Houston is the largest city in Texas. The American space program has one of its largest workplaces there. One man told us that Houston was the first word spoken on the moon. He explained that when an American became the first human to land on the moon on July 20, 1969. The first thing he did was radio back to Houston. The United States was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. There have been six manned U. S. landings and numerous unmanned landings. To date, the United States is the only country to have successfully conducted manned missions to the Moon, with the last one in December 1972.