Mike Pence in space with "Critical Space Flight Hardware 'Do Not Touch'" sign

Photo via Michael Vadon/Flickr Peter Pham/Flickr (CC-BY) Remix by Jason Reed

Mike Pence touches NASA capsule that clearly reads ‘Do Not Touch,’ instantly becomes a meme

Mike Pence didn't heed MC Hammer's warning.


Josh Katzowitz

Internet Culture

Published Jul 7, 2017   Updated May 23, 2021, 12:40 am CDT

The sign in NASA’s clean room was clear. Do not touch this important piece of space equipment. And when NASA asks you not to touch something in a sterile room, it’s probably best to heed its request.

But Mike Pence is vice president, as well as chairman of the National Space Council, which guides U.S. space policy, so maybe that means he doesn’t have to respect NASA’s rules? Because while he was touring a NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Pence touched an important piece of space equipment—despite a very explicit sign.

Then he almost instantly became a meme.

Pence probably took inspiration from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’s Grandpa Joe, who was explicitly told not to imbibe the fizzy-lifting drink, but did so anyway. People hate Grandpa Joe to this day for that decision, and on Friday, people were hating on Pence’s inability to follow the simplest of directions.

Here’s how it started.

Trolls, then, immediately went to work. Naturally, a Photoshop Battle on Reddit followed.


View post on imgur.com

View post on imgur.com

PS Battle – Moonlanding

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View post on imgur.com

View post on imgur.com

Of course, one of Trump’s signature moments had to be included.

As for why NASA thinks a clean room is important, it’s “because even a slight contaminant can create problems inside a capsule” and “It may not sound like a big deal for something that will be exposed to space, but an earthly bit of pollen or sand or even a human hair can confuse a star tracker, lead to a build up around an exhaust port, or block a thruster, for example.”

Sounds important.

Update 3:30pm CT: According to a NASA spokesperson, Pence didn’t do anything wrong.

“The signs are there as a day-to-day reminder, including the one visible on the titanium Forward Bay Cover for the Orion spacecraft,” Jen Rae Wang wrote in an email to the Daily Dot. “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.”

H/T Gizmodo

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*First Published: Jul 7, 2017, 10:10 am CDT