Explore Mars is a non-profit firm that was created with the goal to send humans to Mars within the next two decades. Their latest project, ExoLance, hopes to detect life on Mars, and envisions using lightweight penetrator probes or arrows to detect microorganisms living under or on the Martian surface.
"As each small, lightweight penetrator probe (arrow) impacts the surface, it leaves behind a radio transmitter at the surface to communicate with an orbiter, and then kinetically burrows to emplace a life-detection experiment one to two meters below the surface," read a statement on the Explore Mars website.
The entire life-detector system works around a metabolic test that differentiates non-living chemistry from the chemistry created by the metabolism of living organisms.
Interestingly, whenever life will be successfully detected using the ExoLance experiment, the system will also be able to determine if similar life already exists on Earth or if it's an entirely new species.