Vice President Mike Pence is shown a piece of hardware by Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana during a tour of the Operations and Checkout Building in Florida, July 6, 2017.
Vice President Mike Pence is shown a piece of hardware by Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana during a tour of the Operations and Checkout Building in Florida, July 6, 2017.  Mike Brown—Reuters

Mike Pence Touches NASA Equipment Marked 'Do Not Touch'

Updated: Jul 07, 2017 4:16 PM ET

Mike Pence succumbed to everyone's secret museum impulse when he reached out and touched a piece of equipment clearly labeled "DO NOT TOUCH."

The contact with the critical space flight hardware occurred during the Vice President's tour of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Thursday and was captured by a Reuters photographer. Pence explained why he did it on Friday: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio dared him.

Rubio teased back that he warned Pence about breaking the hardware:

But NASA says no apology is necessary, tweeting at the Vice President that "it was OK to touch the surface" because they were about to clean the item anyway.

The image of Pence has now become a meme, with viewers joking about impulse control, Pence's policy of not having dinner alone with women who aren't his wife, and even the famous orb photo of President Trump.

The Vice President got in on the joke, and even tweeted a photoshopped image himself:

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