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    Default What causes the heat shield of the space shuttle to heat up so violently...



    ...while re-entering Earth's atmosphere? Or any object for that matter (tiny pieces of asteroids that burn up before reaching us or the Apollo capsules)

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    Default

    Some people will say friction, but it is not friction.

    The extreme compression put on the air as the shuttle (or any object) moves through it at very high speeds causes the air to become extremely hot and even ionize somewhat creating a hot plasma that will then in turn heat up the object passing through it.

 

 

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