Dagondanum writes "Multiple missions have been sent to Mars with the hopes of testing the surface of the planet for life — or the conditions that could create life. The question of whether life in the form of bacteria (or something even more exotic) exists on Mars is hotly debated, and still lacks a definitive yes or no. Experiments done right here on Earth that simulate the conditions on Mars and their effects on terrestrial bacteria show that it is entirely possible for certain strains of bacteria to weather the harsh environment of Mars."
Perhaps this is something that will be tested further in a few years by the Mars Science Lab, also known as "Curiosity
" and (as reader Nova1021 points out) "the Mars Action Hero