07/07/2017 5:34 PM AEST | Updated 07/07/2017 8:45 PM AEST

Mike Pence Ignores NASA's 'Do Not Touch’ Sign, Sends Internet Into Orbit

Vice President Mike Pence apparently couldn’t help himself.

He caused concern on Thursday by blatantly ignoring a safety sign during a tour of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Pence was shown some critical space flight hardware, including a piece covered by a sheet of paper with the instruction “DO NOT TOUCH.” But as this snap by Reuters photographer Mike Brown shows, he totally disregarded the warning:

Mike Brown / Reuters
Mike Pence ignored a "Do No Touch" sign on a piece of hardware during a tour of the Kennedy Space Center's Operations and Checkout Building on Thursday.

Twitter users were aghast:

Some suggested why Pence ― who was recently appointed as chair of the revived National Space Council, despite his failed 2005 attempt at shutting down NASA’s space exploration plans ― may have ignored the warning:

Others joked that the hardware itself actually reacted to his touch:

On Reddit, meanwhile, users manipulated the image in all kinds of amusing ways:

Pence later told NASA employees that he was working on returning “our nation to the moon.”

We will reorient America’s space program toward human space exploration and discovery,” he added, despite offering no timetable or details on how the mission could be funded.