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The wearing away of the outer layers of a body by melting, erosion, vaporization, or some other process due to aerodynamic effects as the body moves at high speed through a planetary atmosphere. Ablation can affect natural bodies such as meteoroids, or artificial objects such as spacecraft. Ablation of a spacecraft's protective heat shield prevents overheating of the spacecraft's interior during atmospheric entry.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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