No shit, Sherlock.
For those of us who have followed this stuff since the 60s, that was akin to announcing that Jupiter has four moons, based on a re-evaluation of Galileo's observations. Way ahead of you, Bub.
At this rate, it'll be another 20 years or so before they announce that Mars has trees and standing water, based on a closer look at Mars Global Surveyor's images.
If you still have a memory left, you may recall the banner headlines in 1976, that Viking landers had discovered microbial life in two of their three experiments. The test that has recently come to the fore again was the Labeled Release experiment, in which a spoonful of dirt was dumped into a canister, soaked with 'chicken soup' that had radioactive carbon markers, and then measured the gases released. If there was life, the reasoning went, it would eat the 'soup' and then respire the tagged carbon, which would then be measured as a positive sign of life activity.
Well, the amount of tagged carbon in the canister exploded, and in fact, showed circadian rhythm in the amounts released. During daylight hours, the amount of carbon increased, and at night it decreased.
In the second phase of the experiment, the sample was cooked to sterilize it, the idea being that if the positive sign was really life, then the carbon release would stop after killing the 'bugs'. Sure enough, it did.
Gil Levin, the guy who designed the experiment, has been jumping up and down for decades saying his device found life. But NASA, in its infinite wisdom, said, "No, it's just a chemical reaction in the soil." They have maintained this stance despite years of attempts to recreate the conditions in the lab by making 'fake' Mars soil and running the same tests on it. Haven't succeeded yet.
A number of scientists proposed perchlorates in the soil as a possible chemical that could react in a way similar to the Viking results. Problem was that no one had proof there were perchlorates in Mars soil. All the little rovers running around up there testing the soil couldn't find perchlorate anywhere. Suddenly, the Phoenix lander at the north pole found some! That's right, in a soil sample taken from right next to the lander, they found perchlorate in the soil, which proved that either the Viking results were not life, or that the soil was contaminated by the lander's rockets that used, ahem, perchlorate as a reactor.
And so the NASA circle-jerk goes on, as they do everything in their power to deny that what most normal human beings can see is not there.
In subsequent years, NASA has sent scads of photographers, landers, crawlers, and rollers up there to do everything BUT look for life. All these toys have been loaded with tools to test geology and look for signs of CONDITIONS that would have been FAVORABLE for life in the ANCIENT past, but nothing even remotely capable of looking for EXTANT life.
In orbital photos, there are dozens of examples of lakes with things that look just like giant algae blooms. They grow and shrink with the seasons, and even have a blue-green color. There are dozens of photos of giant objects half-a-mile tall and as big across that look just like trees. They grow and die with the seasons and are even called Arthur Clarke's trees, because he could see the obvious in the photos.
One has to ask the obvious question. With experiments that showed such strong signs of life, and with all the photographic evidence for macro life forms, why hasn't NASA sent a single device to Mars in nearly 40 years to test directly for extant life on the planet?
In fact, they have gone out of their way to represent Mars as alien and inhospitable. The first Viking photos from the surface showed blue skies and ocher landscapes. Earthly desert-dwellers would have felt right at home. The first photos from the current rovers were also initially released in true color, showing blue skies and multi-hued rolling hills.
Eventually, sooner than later, they tweak the colors to give us pink skies and deep red dirt, despite the fact that the color calibration charts are skewed far out of their normal color ranges. In order for those colors to actually exist, it would require sunlight to be different on Earth and Mars, which just ain't gonna happen. Sorry boys. If Mars were circling a red giant like Betelgeuse, I might buy it. But the Sun's light output doesn't shift color temperature in the few million miles between us and them.
On Earth, bacteria and algae live in every conceivable nook and cranny, under every possible environmental condition. Even in our own guts, bacteria thrive in acid baths and complete darkness, occasionally swamped by anything we eat and drink. Why is it so hard to imagine them living on a planet where, in the summer on the equator, in mid-day, most of us would be quite comfortable in T-shirt and shorts (give or take an oxygen mask)?
On top of all this evidence, in recent years, multiple machines have noted a vast methane bloom from certain areas at certain times of the year on Mars. On Earth, methane is predominantly produced by living things farting, like Reagan's cows. And since methane is highly volatile, especially in sunlight, it wouldn't persist much beyond a century in any appreciable amounts, so it is being renewed somehow.
Most of the NASA crowd claims the methane is from geolocical processes, though despite a huge and ever-growing library of data that is being scoured 25/8, they can't find a single geological event that could, much less is, produce methane.
Yet the methane blooms increase and decrease with the seasons and times of the day, much like the tagged carbon experiment on Viking. Gee, you don't suppose that means LIFE do you?!
What is boils down to is: if it walks, quacks and shits like a duck, then it's not a turkey, OK? Us normal thinking people are left with two options: either NASA scientists have their heads so far up a duck's patoot that they can't see daylight, or they are hiding something. Granted, it could be an agency full of Rainmen idiot savants, but I prefer to give them enough credit to walk upright, and that they are willfully lying to us and obfuscating the plain truth to save their precious hides and grants.
Frankly, I have no problem believing the Universe is overflowing with bacteria and algae. After all, on Earth, both survive in places that would kill a man in a matter of seconds. They love it...trive on it. They are everywhere...the deepest ocean, coldest polar regions, inside our guts, on our teeth, swarming on feces, chowing on oil and nuclear waste. Who's to say that every nook and cranny of the Universe isn't just stuffed full of the critters?
Now, supposedly intelligent beings like humans? Well, that's a different problem. Maybe the Universe only creates one species like us per galaxy. After all, the Universe can't afford to have wildly suicidal, pretentious and overly avaricious beings just everywhere. Certainly, we haven't met many destructive creatures like ourselves out there. But even if there's only one species per galaxy, then there's literally hundreds of billions of war-like, idiotic demon races out there.
And if you want to defend the human race, I'm willing to entertain the argument on an individual basis, but as a whole...forget it. I already win before you open your mouth.
Finally, I can say that there was life on the Moon for at least a week and a half. During that week and a half, six human being walked, slept and worked there. Their waste so litters the landscape that satellites can photograph the evidence. I can also argue that life exists on Mars right this minute. There's a rover there controlled by human beings that is still active, and another on the way. As the movie "Avatar" argued, a tele-presence is just as damaging as a human presence. And who wants to argue that anonymous online avatars aren't controlled by living human beings?
Cogito ergo sum. If I control tools, no matter how far away, then it is still 'I' doing it. Ergo, life is present. Does the TeeVee not change channels just because you push a button rather than get up and go over to the TeeVee? Are DARPA's robots any less lethal because a man doesn't directly pull the trigger?
So, even if Mars is truly a dead, sterile world (fat chance), it has life because there is a machine directly controlled by living beings somewhere else in the Universe.
'Life' is such a moveable target. What we call life, and what IS life, don't always match up. And just because we finite, insane beings call something inanimate or inorganic 'non-life' doesn't make it so. That is only our observations, which are infinitely fallible.
In the end, the definition of life, and its detection, is controlled by grant money and vested interests. If life were found on another planet, then huge sums of money would flow from geology to biology. JPL and NASA survive on geology and a particular story line. If the focus and story change, then the entrenched powers would go hungry and the power would shift to another camp.
Same goes for religion. The world's religions are based on humanity being the center of everything. If it turns out there is Creation on other worlds, completely separate from ours, then think how many people would be out of a job. All those priests, preachers, imams, monks, and shamans begging on the streets, vying for handouts along with all the planetary geologists. Can't have that.
The only truth in life is what you figure out for yourself. Even the two-and-a-half people that read this blog on a daily basis should not trust me. I may have some stake in the outcome I am promoting. Therefore, it is up to the individual to decide. What is out there and how does it affect me? And, how does a major change in the way of viewing the Universe affect my ability to make a living, and can I survive in that world?
And you thought life was so simple, didn't you?