Pence jokes about viral photo of him touching NASA equipment labeled 'do not touch'
© Greg Nash

Vice President Pence joked about a photo of him touching a piece of NASA equipment that was labeled “do not touch” on Friday, blaming Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioBipartisan congressional commission urges IOC to postpone, relocate Beijing Games Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks Senators introduce bipartisan bill to secure critical groups against hackers MORE (R-Fla.) for the moment that quickly went viral.

“Sorry NASA…Marco Rubio dared me to do it!” Pence tweeted.

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NASA spokeswoman Jen Rae Wang said in a statement released Friday afternoon that "the signs are there as a day-to-day reminder."

"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," she said.

NASA said in a tweet that it was "an honor to host" Pence, adding of the hardware, "We were going to clean it anyway."

The moment, captured during Pence’s visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to promote President Trump’s plans for the agency, quickly went viral on Twitter.

Updated: 4:45 p.m.