I heard a bit about this MAVEN project on the news today and followed it up.
Here is the link.
I reckon The Martian will need a lot of excreta to achieve his aim (1m32s into trailer clip) in the light of what
has happened - and still happens - on Mars due to the solar wind. Life would have to be hardy and tenacious indeed!
Also there on the NASA subsite is interesting info and a video about Comet Siding Spring, due around October (near Mars at least).