Is it possible to use plasma as a heat shield for a re-entry vehicle? We all know that plasma isn't very dense, but then neither is the thin upper atmosphere that causes re-entry heating in lieu of drag. I'd read that a simple trick used by ICBM warhead engineers, was to simply have a perforated heat shield which was also a water vessel, so that re-entry heating would make the water boil forth, emerging the holes as steam, which would then protect the heat shield itself from the atmospheric friction. This seems like an elegantly simple solution. But couldn't plasma also then do something similar, acting as a similar kind of buffer between the vehicle and the oncoming atmospheric gas molecules? Also, consider that a higher proportion of the upper atmosphere would be ionized anyway. This could permit the use of charge field interaction to ward off atmospheric heating. I'm simply suggesting this as a lightweight solution against re-entry heating.