UPDATE: 3:28 p.m. EDT – NASA told International Business Times in a statement Friday that Vice President Mike Pence hadn’t done anything wrong by touching a piece of hardware at the Kennedy Space Center. The vice president caught considerable flak after a photo emerged of him with his hand flush up against the spacecraft despite a sign with the words “Critical Space Flight Hardware ‘DO NOT TOUCH’” on it in large letters.

“The ‘do not touch’ signs are there as a day to day reminder, including the one visible on the titanium Forward Bay Cover for the Orion spacecraft,” Bob Jacobs said in an email to IBT. “Procedures require the hardware to be cleaned before tiles are bonded to the spacecraft, so touching the surface is okay. Otherwise, the hardware would have a protective cover over it like the thermal heat shield, which was nearby.”

Original story:

Vice President Mike Pence became an instant meme Thursday when he appeared to disregard a NASA sign imploring visitors not to touch a piece of equipment. In an image that quickly went viral, Pence can be seen with his hand flush against a piece of equipment with a sign bearing the words “Critical Space Flight Hardware ‘DO NOT TOUCH’” in block letters.

Pence was visiting the Kennedy Space Center Thursday when he approached the piece of Orion hardware, a spacecraft that was set to be flown in 2019. Pence said during his visit that he was looking forward to NASA’s future endeavors and called space center a “gateway to the stars.”

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“Here from this bridge to space, our nation will return to the moon and we will put American boots on the face of Mars,” he said in a speech. The speech, however, was overshadowed by his apparent disregard for the “DO NOT TOUCH” sign. The photo captured by Reuters photographer Mike Brown gave the internet cause to mock the vice president.

The image of Pence clearly disregarding a warning sign sparked an eruption on social media. Reuters

Social media users flocked to Twitter with memes and gifs of the vice president touching the hardware.

One user posted a riff on Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape.

“’I just grab ‘em by the Critical Space Flight Hardware. When you’re a VP, they just let you do it’ – Mike Pence,” the user wrote.

Others joked that it was a clear indication that Pence can’t read. Still more users joked that because the words “DO NOT TOUCH” were in quotes, Pence thought he didn’t have to listen to them.

“Well it was in quotes and he just assumed the sign was being sarcastic,” one person said.

Another person compared it to the photograph of President Donald Trump with his hands on what appeared to be a glowing “orb” in Saudi Arabia.

“He wanted his own orb moment,” the user tweeted.