mass noun
1 The surgical removal of body tissue.
2 The removal of snow and ice from a glacier or iceberg by melting or evaporation.
2.1 The erosion of rock, typically by wind action.
2.2 The loss of surface material from a spacecraft or meteorite through evaporation or melting caused by friction with the atmosphere.

Late Middle English (in the general sense ‘taking away, removal’): from late Latin ablatio(n-), from Latin ablat- ‘taken away’, from ab- ‘away’ + lat- ‘carried’ (from the verb ferre).


The scientists at National Aeronautics and Space Administration came to understand the nature of ablation when they observed it’s effects on returning lander modules.


Oddly, abrasion isn’t included in the many definitions of ablation. Abrasion is removal of material, as sandpaper removes wood fibers from a rough plank. That doesn’t seem much different from wind-carried sand ablating rock formations like the ones in Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
There must be some technical difference, I suppose.

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