A reinterpretation of 30 year-old Viking data could mean that there were about as many bacteria in the Viking samples as there are in some Antarctic environments. These were the samples confidently pronounced as totally lifeless, proof that there not only wasn’t, there couldn’t be, any life on Mars.
Dr. Houtkooper hypothesizes that the carbon – oxygen balance observed in the samples could be a sign of microbes that use hydrogen peroxide as an anti-freeze. Bacteria like that are known from extreme environments on Earth. They’re not just an idea, at least on Earth. However, I can’t find the original references yet, or critiques, so this may be a lot less interesting than it sounds.
But finding life outside of Earth would be as much of a mind-expander in biology as the equivalence of matter and energy were for physics. (I discuss that a bit (I discuss that a bit here.)
I can’t wait.
[Update about a week later: Available evidence suggests Dr. Houtkooper was talking through his hat. Ah well.]