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Maybe Trump and Pence should steer clear of astronomy altogether

Donald Trump ran into some trouble last week while trying to discuss space. This week, Mike Pence appears to have made matters quite a bit worse.
Image: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence touches a piece of hardware with a warning label \"Do Not Touch\" at Kennedy Space Center in Florida
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence touches a piece of hardware with a warning label \"Do Not Touch\" next to Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana during a...

A week ago, in a strange White House ceremony, Donald Trump signed an executive order to bring back the National Space Council. The event was odd for a variety of reasons, including the remarks the president made to wrap up the official gathering.

"This is infinity here," Trump said. "It could be infinity. We don't really don't know. But it could be. It has to be something -- but it could be infinity, right?"

I honestly have no idea what the president was even trying to say.

A week later, the administration kept its focus on astronomy, dispatching Mike Pence to the Kennedy Space Center, where he was photographed putting his hand on equipment that featured a prominent sign that read, "Critical Space Flight Hardware: Do Not Touch."

You were warned, Vice President Mike Pence. The sign is pretty clear: "Do Not Touch."Like the Roswell UFO incident or the "Star Wars" prequels, this photo leaves us asking: What happened here? Maybe the vice president had express permission to touch the "Critical Space Flight Hardware" during his tour of NASA's Kennedy Space Flight Center. Maybe he wanted to recreate that time President Donald Trump put his hands on a glowing orb in Saudi Arabia.

Maybe he was looking for that infinity the president was so excited about.

As for what Pence had to say at the NASA facility, the vice president voiced support for an ambitious agenda. CBS News reported:

Vice President Mike Pence, chairman of the recently re-established National Space Council, toured the Kennedy Space Center Thursday and vowed to renew American leadership on the high frontier, telling spaceport workers "our nation will return to the moon, and we will put American boots on the face of Mars." [...][A]s the chairman of the re-formed National Space Council, the vice president promised that under President Donald Trump, "America will lead in space once again.""For nearly 25 years, our government's commitment seems to have not matched the spirit of the American people," he said. "But I'm here to tell you, that as we still enter this new century, we will beat back any disadvantage that our lack of attention has placed, and American will once again lead in space for the benefit and security of all of our people and all of the world."

Pence didn't go into any substantive details about the administration's plans, which is a shame -- because the vice president's bold rhetoric notwithstanding, the Trump administration wants to cut NASA's budget.