The illicit contact with the Orion hardware occurred during the vice president’s tour of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday and was captured by a Reuters photographer.
And hours after his visit, Pence responded to the wave of social media posts with an explanation of why he touched it.
“Sorry @NASA… @MarcoRubio dared me to do it!” Pence jokingly tweeted on his official V.P. account.
To which Senator Rubio (R-FL) reacted with a tweet of his own writing, “In fairness, I warned @VP that ‘you break it, you own it.’ ”
All in all, NASA clarified that there was no harm done.
“It was OK to touch the surface. Those are just day-to-day reminder signs. We were going to clean it anyway. It was an honor to host you!” the space agency tweeted.