A younger generation is taking over the Texas oil fields

For the first time in centuries, an American-built – and more specifically, Texas-built – spacecraft has touched down on the moon.
Multiple law enforcement officers who responded to the 2022 Uvalde school shooting have been ordered to appear before a grand jury investigating the failed police response.
The folks calling the shots in the Texas oil industry seem to be getting younger. What does this change mean for the industry?
A giant among advocates for people with disabilities in Texas steps down after a quarter century. We’ll talk with Dennis Borel of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities about the challenges ahead.
Plus, the week in politics with The Texas Tribune.

Astronaut Christina Koch on NASA’s upcoming Artemis 2 mission

Tensions are growing in Austin over the use of DPS officers to augment local police.

Facing resistance to a plan similar to school vouchers, an alteration getting attention at the state Capitol is focused on students with disabilities. Talia Richman of the Dallas Morning News Education Lab has more.

NASA’s plans to return to the moon: We’ll talk with Christina Koch, one of the astronauts assigned to the upcoming Artemis 2 mission.

And on this 4/20, a closer look at the complicated relationship between country music and Willie Nelson’s favorite way to kick back.

Texas Standard: November 16, 2022

With an expected split in power on Capitol Hill, what does that mean for Texans? Coming up, the Texas Tribune’s Matthew Choi on bills that could affect Texas in a big way, and the potential for gridlock In Congress. Also, after the winter power disaster of 2021, Texas officials rolling out a plan to help one of the most vulnerable groups of Texans: dialysis patients. And for the first time since the end of the Apollo program, NASA takes a giant leap to the moon. More on today’s launch of Artemis 1 and what’s ahead. And with interest rates rising and turbulence in the housing market, the Dallas fed raises red flags. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: July 19, 2019

From what was once the furthest frontier of the west, a mission to the furthest frontier of humankind. On July 20th 1969, the world held its breath as astronauts from the United States did something nearly unimaginable. But the pathway to the first moon landing ran through Texas, and the marks of that journey have left deep and lasting impressions on the lunar surface, and on the Lone Star State. And they might serve as waymarks for our future, too. The Texas Standard special, Highway to the Moon: How Texas Paved the Way for Apollo:

Apollo 11 (50th Anniversary)

July of 2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of man’s first steps on the moon. It’s an accomplishment many still can’t fully comprehend. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

Texas Standard: July 8, 2019

Texas continues to lead a fight against the Affordable Care Act. We’ll take a look at where things stand now and where a win could leave the state. Plus, battleground 2020… or maybe not. Is Texas really up for grabs as Democrats try to make their mark in Austin and Washington? We’ll explore. And going to the moon: A Texas researcher’s invention tapped to make a trip. Why he says the experience is bringing him full circle. Plus a book about the me too movement that will make you laugh, and reviewers say that’s a good thing. That and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: May 29, 2019

If another Harvey sized storm hit the Texas coast, could the state’s economy weather the hit ? A warning to Texas officials about the need to do something to protect the Galveston bay before the next so called 500 year storm event, we’ll take a look. Also a plan to get teachers to transfer to low performing schools, how’s it going? Plus how is it that a small texas town of 400 people is bankrolling projects statewide? We’ll explore. And has Texas government debt really risen 40 percent in 5 years? Politifact checks the numbers and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: May 24, 2019

Chers at the capitol as lawmakers pass changes to school finance and property taxes. Will Texans more broadly be cheering as well? We’ll explore. Also, both Money for schools and property tax cuts passed by the Texas legislature. How’s that gonna work, exactly? We’ll take a closer look. And 50 years after Apollo 11, another trip to the moon in the works: this time it could be permanent. Plus the week in politics and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 29, 2018

Should immigration and customs enforcement be dissolved? It’s not just democratic socialists asking, it’s some of the agents themselves, we’ll explore. Also grumblings south of the border as Mexico prepares to go to the polls and pick a new president. And polls point to a victory for a man described as a Trump of the Mexican left. We’ll have an update of these final hours before balloting begins. And Texas Senator Ted cruz accused Facebook’s CEO of liberal bias. Now reports say social media honchos have been huddling in secret with GOP leaders. We’ll hear what’s on their agenda. Plus the week in Texas politics and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: March 12, 2018

The president’s gamble over tariffs: why Texas may be in the crosshairs if Europe decides to go tit-for-tat. We’ll have a conversation with the EU ambassador. Plus, full speed ahead for the general election? For dozens of Texas candidates, the brakes are still on for the runoffs. We’ll lift the curtain on what it takes to get past the next political hurdle. And is a historic part of downtown El Paso ready for the bulldozer? Some residents say no one prepared them, and they’re pushing back. Also evangelical women in the era of Trump and me too. After allegations from a porn star and more, can Trump still count on support from the religious right? Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Jules Verne, Texas, and the Moon

The first word uttered on the moon was “Houston.” That was the first word of the longer phrase uttered by Buzz Aldrin: “Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed.” I know there are those who say that there were other jargon words uttered first in the process of landing such as “contact light,” but that’s a mere technicality. The words that matter are those that officially announced the safe landing of The Eagle on the moon, and of those words, the first one was “Houston.” Another way to put it is the first phone call from the moon was placed to Houston.

But this is not the centerpiece of our story today. This is just a lead into a more fascinating connection between Texas and the moon landing. The fact that Houston was so central to the success of the achievement was prophesied, in a way, 100 years before, by Jules Verne, in his novel, From the Earth to the Moon. This is the same Jules Verne who wrote Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Around the World in Eighty Days. He is often considered to be the father of modern science fiction. Well, his book, From the Earth to the Moon, concerns a moon shot. And it was actually a moon shot because in the book, characters attempt to build an enormous cannon and fire a huge “bullet” at the moon. Now, the bullet looks amazingly like the Apollo Capsule. It has room for three people in it, just like the real lunar capsule that would come 100 years later. Even the physics of Verne’s moon voyage were impressively correct for his time (except for the intolerable g-forces that would have been experienced by the people in the bullet capsule).

So how does Texas factor into this prophecy? Well, Verne calculated that the best place from which to launch such a shot at the moon would be either Florida or Texas. It would have to be below the 28th parallel. He discusses Brownsville as a possible launch site (interesting that Space X is now locating a launch facility there). Corpus Christi is discussed as a possible site, and so is Galveston Bay. Also, Verne names one site in Florida as an option – “Tampa Town.” The real life Tampa is across the state from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, where the Apollo moon launch eventually came from.

Remember, Verne’s novel was written 100 years before the actual moon landing. Verne even named the launch cannon The Columbiad. The command module for the moon landing was The Columbia.

The other accurate prophecy came in the way of politics. Verne has a wonderful section in From the Earth to the Moon on Florida and Texas each flexing their political muscle and persuasion skills to win the business of the space launch. The same thing indeed happened 100 years later. The debate was settled by Lyndon Johnson, Texas’ native son. He, through political maneuvering, gave the launch site to Florida and the command center to Texas.

Still, it is fascinating to read the arguments each state advocated in Verne’s novel. The Texans claimed a greater population: 330,000 to Florida’s 50,000. Texas had the finest cotton, the best iron ore, the purest grade oil and coveted green oak for ships. Tampa said they had the best bay from which to bring in supplies. Texans said, “You mean a bay clogged with sand! Galveston Bay can hold all the navies of the world.”

And then Florida dropped the big one – the space launch should go to the state that is truly American. Texas got red-faced and said, “Scandalous – wretched little strip of country like Florida to dare to compare itself to Texas. Texas didn’t sell herself to the union for 5 million dollars. She won her own independence at San Jacinto when Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna and drove the Mexican armies from the state. Only then did we voluntarily annex ourselves to the U.S. Anyway, that little strip of land called Florida will be ripped apart by the forces of the moon launch.”

Florida said, “Not so. And Galveston Bay is slightly below the 29th parallel and Tampa Bay is right smack on the 28th parallel,” perfectly positioned for the moon shot. And so Florida won that argument. And 100 years later Florida got the launch site, too.

But in real life, I figure Texas got the best deal with the command center (and the budgets). And, it got the first word. The first word of consequence uttered on the moon was “Houston.” And it was this space connection that gave us a team called the Astros, the WORLD CHAMPION ASTROS, I might add.

*Special thanks to Dr. Jack Stanley who told me about this book and its unique connection to Texas.