if there was life on mars what the hell happened up there
Same thing that will happen here. Planets cool down after time - the cooling causes the tectonic activity to slow down, then finally stop. Once it's stopped, the planet is 'dead' - the regurgitating, basically, of elements from volcanic activity keep a fundamental process of life on the planet going.
In short, a planet must be geologically active to also be biologically active.
Mars apparenly 'cooled down' faster than earth (we're not talking about surface temperature here - the core temperature of the planet is what is the concern here - which is determined by things like: the planet's size, the mineral composition of it, distance from the sun, etc.)
There is, of course, some evidence of occasional active tectonics on Mars - and more evidence the planet used to be quite active. Which means it is almost certain life, of some kind, COULD HAVE existed there. It does not now, of course, but it COULD HAVE - and that's enough to go looking.
the environment is too hostile with extreme cold and poisonous gasses
Ummm...with all due respect....
The temperature of a planet and its atmosphere have absolutely nothing to do with the possibility of 'life'. Life 'as we know it', sure - but that's the fault of our limited frame of reference, nothing more. There are probably LOTS of different environmental conditions that could lead to self-replicating molecules that evolve in to 'higher organisms'. We just haven't found any yet.
Granted, you definitely would not want to go on vacaction there but bacteria has been found in less hospitable places here on earth
Ding ding ding! True story. There are some pretty damn nasty places on this planet that life - even 'life as we know it' - exists just fine.