Of all missions sent to Mars only one, the Viking 26 years ago, has dared to search for life. Its only conclusive result was that finding proof of extraterrestrial life proved to be much harder than expected. Second attempts never followed. Until now. ESA’s Mars Express, the next mission to the Red Planet and the first European one, has an ambitious goal. To be launched in 2003, Mars Express will be the first spacecraft after Viking to search for direct and indirect evidence for past or present life on Mars. This time, scientists are equipped with more knowledge and insight in how to detect Martian life. The chances of success look very good.