There is a BOLD new plan for detecting signs of microbial life on Mars. The nickname is BOLD, which stands for Biological Oxidant and Life Detection Initiative, would be a follow-up to the 1976 Mars Viking life-detection experiments. This comes after recent headlines that suggested the possibility, at least mathematically, that the Viking crafts had discovered life contrary to the original conclusion.
The general consensus was that the Viking experiments only discovered geological activity with the samples, rather than biology.
"We have much better technology that we could use," says BOLD lead scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch, with Washington State University. He elaborates, "Our idea is to make a relatively cheap mission and go more directly to characterize and solve the big question about the soil properties on Mars and life detection."