The atmosphere is a gaseous blanket or envelope that surrounds a planet, held in place by the planet's gravity. The troposphere is the lowest of four distinct layers of atmosphere. The Ionosphere is one of the highest layers.
The atmosphere of the planetoid Darien 224 was sufficiently volatile that it precluded the use of transporters and allowed intermittent communications at best. Because of this, in 2254, the USS Enterprise was forced to fly into the atmosphere to get close enough to retrieve a landing party on the surface before the planet's surface was destroyed following the firing of a psionic weapon. (EV comic: "Cloak and Dagger")
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