Combine this with recent evidence that there is possibly frozen water on the Moon...oh wait, the Moon and Mars are completely different places. I suddenly forgot.
Although the search for extraterrestrial life is a mission I believe we should undertake, I have to ask what the priorities are. Should we continue studying Mars for ancient microbial (but now extinct) creatures? Or should we concentrate on distant stars that may have higher, intelligent life similar to our own? Does the existence (or non-existence) of past life on Mars affect whether or not the place should be colonized or terraformed?
And here's my deepest question of all: how does a chunk of Mars, containing crystalline bacterial fossils, exit Mars' gravitational field, get caught in Earth's gravitational field, fall to Earth without burning up or exploding in the atmosphere, survive the last Ice Age, and then be discovered by scientists who can ably identify the rock as Martian in origin?
Through the wondrous power of the internet, I have found an article, dated Feb 1999, which explains the theory that the Martian rock was "thrown off" Mars surface during the impact of a large object with Mars, some 16 million years ago.
But that doesn't explain to me how we know these are actually Mars rocks. Luckily, there is an article written in the 1980's (see bibliography of this review) that suggests the chemical composition of a handful of meteorites, along with the noble gases contained therein, virtually eliminate any other source from the equation. These meteorites are from Mars.
Because all meteorites come from the inner solar system? Oh wait, no, they don't.
TAE humbly submits that there is no compelling reason to believe that these rocks originated at Mars and not another extrasolar body with Mars-like geology.
Nevertheless, I must again ask one of my earlier questions: if now-extinct microbial life once existed on Mars, does it matter to taxpayers? Although I find the search for extraterrestrial life compelling and worthwhile, because contact with (or even simply positive evidence of) intelligent life would change the fundamentals of human existence...I do not see how proof of "nanobacteria" on Mars, dead for over a billion years, could ever possibly change my life. And so why should I pay taxes to fund scientists