In what is probably our favorite photo of anything ever, VP Pence was snapped at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center touching a piece of hardware that he wasn’t supposed to be touching.
Pence, standing in front of a piece of “Critical Space Flight Hardware” that quite clearly stated “Do Not Touch”, stretched out his left hand and, yes, touched it. The gloriously weird moment was captured by photographer Red Huber.
We don’t yet know what this part of hardware is. And, truth be told, we also don’t know if someone said he was allowed to do it. We’ve asked NASA to clarify both points. However, this image is really just a great, great metaphor for everything. And the Internet went wild with it.
Pence was visiting NASA as head of the newly resurrected National Space Council, which will kind of like support NASA or something – it’s not super clear. It’s also not 100 percent clear why Pence needed to visit KSC in the first place, aside from break a few rules, but he did give a wishy-washy speech about the future of NASA.
“Our nation will return to the moon, and we will put American boots on the face of Mars,” he said, without giving any actual policy on how they’d do this. We’re also still waiting for the Trump administration to announce who will run NASA as Administrator, a position vacated by Charlie Bolden back in January.
Pence made his speech surrounded by various hardware being developed by NASA and private companies to explore space. This includes the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft.
“The American spirit is as limitless as space itself,” Pence said in his Trump-rivalling word salad.
“And so we will bring that spirit fully to bear on the trials that lie ahead. If we can dream it, we can do it. And under President Trump, we will achieve more in space than we ever thought possible.” No, we have no idea what he’s talking about either.
In the Bolden days, NASA’s overall goal was the often lambasted “Journey to Mars”, aiming to get humans there by the 2030s. We don’t yet know what Trump’s plan will be, but it’d be good to find out soon, eh? In the meantime, remember to read signs.