Pence Touches Space Hardware Labeled ‘Do Not Touch’ During NASA Trip

United States Vice President Mike Pence gets a tour of historic mission control after welcoming in a new class of astronauts at the Johnson Space Center Wednesday, June 7, 2017 in Houston. (Michael Ciaglo/ Houston Chronicle via AP)
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 7, 2017 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence tours the historic Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, after welcoming in a new class of astronauts. On Thursday, Kuly ... FILE - In this Wednesday, June 7, 2017 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence tours the historic Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, after welcoming in a new class of astronauts. On Thursday, Kuly 6, 2017, Pence, who is leading a newly revived National Space Council, will address employees at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Michael Ciaglo/ Houston Chronicle via AP) MORE LESS
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July 7, 2017 12:26 pm
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During the Vice President’s visit to the NASA Kennedy Space Center Thursday, where he advocated for getting “American boots” on Mars, Vice President Mike Pence was photographed touching space equipment clearly labeled “Do Not Touch.”

The photo was captured while the vice president and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) were touring the Operations and Checkout Building at the space center by Director Robert Cabana. The equipment was some type of “critical space flight hardware,” according to sign posted on the apparatus.

The internet responded accordingly.

Taking to Twitter on Friday, the Vice President laughed it off, saying Rubio “dared me to do it!” and posting a photoshopped picture of himself petting a porcupine instead of the space equipment.

Memes aside, a NASA spokesperson said the signs just function as a “reminder” and that it was “absolutely okay” for Pence to touch the surface of the equipment.

“The signs are there as a day-to-day reminder, including the one visible on the titanium Forward Bay Cover for the Orion spacecraft,” NASA spokesperson Jen Rae Wang said in an email to TPM. “Procedures require the hardware to be cleaned before tiles are bonded to the spacecraft, so touching the surface is absolutely okay. Otherwise, the hardware would have had a protective cover over it like the thermal heat shield, which was nearby.”

The vice president visited the space center to discuss President Donald Trump’s plans for space exploration, which he said would include a return to the moon and “American boots on the face of Mars.”

“Extending our nation’s leadership in space is one of the greatest challenges of our day. And just as we have risen to the challenges that came before, so too we will rise to meet the new challenges that lie ahead,” he said. “That’s why just last Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to relaunch the National Space Council and guide a new era of space leadership by the United States of America.”

h/t Mashable.

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