It’s looking bad for the possibility of life on Mars. Our rapidly-increasing pool of information has produced not one single iota of evidence of past life, and has shown that the Martian Ocean was perhaps as much as 100 TIMES more saline than the Earth’s oceans are. http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/529/1?rss=1 On a personal note, I love this kind of stuff. Why? Well, because NASA has got it in their heads that the only way the government will fund space exploration is if they find evidence of life, and that “That will make it relevant to the common man.”
The common man already believes in life on other planets (With no evidence), and doesn’t care, so finding proof of something they already take for granted but place no importance in isn’t going to get the average scientifically-illiterate dope in the streets interested, nor will it increase NASA’s budget. Furthermore, the ongoing NASA propaganda line about Life on Mars insists that we deliberately overlook the skillions of well-known factors about the planet that make it inimical to life (No radiation shielding, insubstantial atmosphere, no magnetosphere, frequent asteroidal bombardment, a gravity well too shallow to hold liquid water or more than a trace atmosphere for very long, etc).
You do not go to a place with preconceived notions and work backwards - that is by definition, bad science (and rather dishonest to boot) –you go to a place to learn about it. We certainly did not go to the moon looking for life, but in the process we learned more about geology than we had in the previous hundred years.
Of course with the Democrats squarely in charge, the Shuttle facing retirement, and Obama’s statement that he’ll postpone the “Orion” program for at least five years, NASA’s future is looking bleak anyway, so probably this is all irrelevant