Colonized by Spain, the land that is now New Mexico became U.S. territory as part of the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, though New Mexico did not become a U.S. state until 1912. During World War II, New Mexico was the site of the top-secret Manhattan Project, in which top U.S. scientists raced to create the first atomic bomb, which was tested at the Trinity Bomb site, near Alamogordo, on July 16, 1945. In 1947, Roswell, New Mexico, became a topic of speculation about extraterrestrial life when a local farmer discovered unidentified debris on his property, which some believed was the remains of a crashed alien spacecraft. Visitors to New Mexico get frequent attractions like the Very Large Array telescope in Socorro and the historic city of Santa Fe, which artist Georgia O’Keeffe famously called home.
It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona. New Mexico is also bordered by the state of Texas to the east-southeast, Oklahoma to the northeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua to the south and Sonora to the southwest. New Mexico was officially recognized as the state on January 6, 1912. The state capital is Santa Fe.
In addition to local railroads and other tourist lines, the state jointly owns and operates a heritage narrow-gauge steam railroad, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway, with the state of Colorado. Narrow gauge railroads once connected many communities in the northern part of the state, from Farmington to Santa Fe.
New Mexico is served by two class I railroads, the BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad. Combined, they operate 2,200 route miles of railway in the state.
The major Interstate Highways are:
New Mexico has only three Interstate Highways. In Albuquerque, I-25 and I-40 meet at a stack interchange called The Big I.
Interstate 10- travels in the southwest portion of New Mexico starting from the Arizona state line near Lordsburg to the Texas stateline south past Las Cruces, near El Paso, Texas.
Interstate 25- is a major north–south interstate highway starting from Las Cruces, New Mexico to the Colorado state line near Raton.
Interstate 40- is a major east–west interstate highway starting from the Arizona stateline west of Gallup to the Texas state line east from Tucumcari.
Currently, New Mexico is served by 15 United States Highways. This includes US 54, US 56, US 60, US 62, US 64, US 70, US 82, US 84, US 87, US 160, US 180, US 285, US 380, US 491, and US 550.
In addition, rural and intercity public transportation by road is provided by Americanos USA, LLC, Greyhound Lines and several government operators.
The Albuquerque International Sunport is the state’s primary point of entry for air transportation.
Upham, near Truth or Consequences, is the location of the world’s first operational and purpose-built commercial spaceport, Spaceport America. Rocket launches began in April 2007. It is undeveloped and has one tenant, UP Aerospace, launching small payloads. Virgin Galactic, a space tourism company, plans to make this their primary operating base.