A friend of mine sent me this link and wanted to know my “take” on it.
I read the story. The idea sounds plausable, but it’s a bit ‘fringe’. The the scientist interviewed is basically speculating on what “might be”. The Viking data is 30 years old now, and if we went looking today we might find different ways of looking for life on Mars.
The problem, of course, is that its horribly expensive to send anything to Mars, so every ounce of weight is very valuable (I don’t know if anyone has ever done a cost analysis by weight, but I’ll bet you that it’s in the tens of millions of dollars per ounce to send something to Mars). You can’t just pack everything plus the kitchen sink into a lander, so you have to take your best guess as to what is going to yield results, and go with it. There will always be someone with a different idea of what you should be looking for, and the journalists are always eager to print a story about how Scientists/NASA/USA was wrong to do things a certain way.