My entry for the fortnightly topic challenge:
You are a space explorer. You are visiting this weird habitable planet in the Alpha Centauri System as part if the first manned expedition to another world. You see weird things floating in the upper atmosphere/space but think nothing of it, despite how much they look like living things. On a trip to the surface you see a similar shaped animal. At first you think it is a coincidence, but while exploring, you see one on a ledge on a tall cliff. It runs, jumps and takes off, using ocean thermals to rise, then flapping its wings as it got higher. Eventually it was out of sight. You had your space station base scan for it and found it was rapidly approaching the upper atmosphere.
We have talked about how a plant could do inter-planetary travel via seeds. Is there any way for my creature to reach the upper stratosphere, near the mesosphere? Is there any evolutionary advantage that could be gained that would spark this creature into existence? How would the creature re-enter the planet without burning up?
CRITERIA THE CREATURE MUST MEET
- must have wings
- must at least reach the very top of the troposphere, preferably the stratosphere, though.