In 1976, two NASA Viking landers scooped up some orange Martian soil and attempted to incubate any native microorganisms that might be present. The results were ambiguous as best, and have been hotly debated ever since.
Finding a life form able to survive in homemade Martian conditions may have a double payoff says the team, lead by Giuseppe Galletta. It might expand our understanding of the limits of environments where life can survive. The experiments would also define the limits for how easy or hard it would be to accidentally contaminate Mars with Earth bugs.
Full story at Discovery News.