A heat shield was a surface or energy barrier designed to prevent damage to spacecraft structures when that spacecraft approached a star or entered the atmosphere of a planet.

When the HMS Bounty attempted the slingshot effect around Sol, Pavel Chekov noted that the heat shields were at maximum moments after the ship hit warp 8. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

The USS Enterprise-D used its deflector shields when it entered the atmosphere of Minos during a conflict with the Echo Papa 607 weapons system. (TNG: "The Arsenal of Freedom")

The escape pods of Sovereign-class starships had heat shields that lay flush with the surface of the hull when in place. (Star Trek: First Contact)

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