And because I enjoyed it so much to have a frontpage article on Slashdot.com I just tried to get a second story approved and at this moment it is on the frontpage.
You can deeplink to the article via this link.
The item discusses the possibility of the Viking mars mission missing some critical signs of possible life on Mars due to not completely working equipment. It links to a PNAS article which you can find via this link.
Please read the complete posting also here:
Johan Louwers writes "The Viking mars mission in 1976 might have missed signs of life due to not completely working analysis equipment. GC-MS on the Viking 1976 Mars missions did not detect organic molecules on the Martian surface, even those expected from meteorite bombardment. This result suggested that the Martian regolith might hold a potent oxidant that converts all organic molecules to carbon dioxide rapidly relative to the rate at which they arrive. This conclusion is influencing the design of Mars missions. We reexamine this conclusion in light of what is known about the oxidation of organic compounds generally and the nature of organics likely to come to Mars via meteorite."