Well, after slicing a finger but still not emancipating my new mechanical pencil from its clamshell container, I'm having a V-8 moment.
NASA is looking in the wrong places for their solutions to protect the space shuttle. Heat shield tiles, who needs them! I say NASA simply talk to the vendors selling $5 crap and encasing said crap in inpenetrable and indestructible clamshell packages.
Encase the shuttle in one of these packages and NASA's good to go. (But watch your fingers when you try to get the astronauts out!)