This discovery is so critically important because it is generally accepted that you need water to sustain life. So now we know there's water on mars. Will this lead to the eventual discovery of life? Can you imagine the problems some people will have if we discover life somewhere other than on the Earth? The creationists, for instance .. how do they handle this?Just why would the discovery of life on Mars be any more problematic for creationists than the discovery of life on Earth? The essense of creationism is not that the Earth is the only place there's life, it's that where life exists, it comes from other life (which if you're keeping score at home is the only way we've ever seen life come about) or that it is created.
There I go again .. stirrin' it up. Well, somebody's gotta ask these questions.
Boortz' misunderstanding is shared by a lot of people, who speculate that if Man can create life, that somehow proves an insoluble dilemma for creationists: "You see, we took x and did y to it and then added z. It took us 20 years, millions of dollars, and some of the finest minds in the world. And after all that work, we created life. That proves it happens by accident."
I suspect that there is life all over the universe, both in the physical and non-physical realms, though as a Christian I do wonder if there are limitations on how we would be able to interact with such life*. The discovery of the kind of life Neal is thinking about on Mars (bacterias and viruses, I guess) would be simply a quickly-passing curiosity to me, because the only interaction is liable to be us catching cold. Hey, I read War of the Worlds, I know this stuff.
The discovery of a city (even if ruined) dedicated to the god of War, now that would be something worth talking about.
* I think CS Lewis was very insightful in his Space Trilogy when he called Earth "The Silent Planet," and like Lewis I'm a lot less excited than Hawking about the idea of spreading mankind all over the Universe.