Europe

European Space Agency: Still no signal from Mars lander

  • An employee stands in the control center  of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt, Germany, Wednesday Oct. 19,  2016.  ESA and its Russian partner Roskosmos hope for the first successful landing on Mars. Their landing modul Schiaparelli will enter the martian atmosphere at an altitude of about 121 km and a speed of nearly 21 000 km/h. Less than six minutes later it will have landed on Mars. The probe will take images of Mars and conduct scientific measurements on the surface, but its main purpose is to test technology for a future European Mars rover.  Schiaparelli's mother ship ,TGO, will remain in orbit to analyze gases in the Martian atmosphere to help answer whether there is or was life on Mars,  (Uwe Anspach/dpa via AP)

    An employee stands in the control center of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt, Germany, Wednesday Oct. 19, 2016. ESA and its Russian partner Roskosmos hope for the first successful landing on Mars. Their landing modul Schiaparelli will enter the martian atmosphere at an altitude of about 121 km and a speed of nearly 21 000 km/h. Less than six minutes later it will have landed on Mars. The probe will take images of Mars and conduct scientific measurements on the surface, but its main purpose is to test technology for a future European Mars rover. Schiaparelli's mother ship ,TGO, will remain in orbit to analyze gases in the Martian atmosphere to help answer whether there is or was life on Mars, (Uwe Anspach/dpa via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this artist impression provided by the European Space Agency, ESA, the  ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, TGO, right, and its entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, Schiaparelli, center, approaching Mars. The separation was scheduled to occur on Sunday Oct. 16, about seven months after launch. Schiaparelli is set to enter the martian atmosphere on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 while TGO will enter orbit around Mars. The probe will take images of Mars and conduct scientific measurements on the surface, but its main purpose is to test technology for a future European Mars rover.  Schiaparelli's mother ship will remain in orbit to analyze gases in the Martian atmosphere to help answer whether there is or was life on Mars. (ESA ATG/medialab via AP)

    In this artist impression provided by the European Space Agency, ESA, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, TGO, right, and its entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, Schiaparelli, center, approaching Mars. The separation was scheduled to occur on Sunday Oct. 16, about seven months after launch. Schiaparelli is set to enter the martian atmosphere on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 while TGO will enter orbit around Mars. The probe will take images of Mars and conduct scientific measurements on the surface, but its main purpose is to test technology for a future European Mars rover. Schiaparelli's mother ship will remain in orbit to analyze gases in the Martian atmosphere to help answer whether there is or was life on Mars. (ESA ATG/medialab via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Artist impression of the Schiaparelli module on the surface of Mars provided by the European Space Agency, ESA. . On Wednesday Oct. 19, 2016  Schiaparelli will enter the martian atmosphere at an altitude of about 121 km and a speed of nearly 21 000 km/h. Less than six minutes later it will have landed on Mars. The probe will take images of Mars and conduct scientific measurements on the surface, but its main purpose is to test technology for a future European Mars rover.  Schiaparelli's mother ship ,TGO, will remain in orbit to analyze gases in the Martian atmosphere to help answer whether there is or was life on Mars. (ESA/ATG-medialab via AP)

    Artist impression of the Schiaparelli module on the surface of Mars provided by the European Space Agency, ESA. . On Wednesday Oct. 19, 2016 Schiaparelli will enter the martian atmosphere at an altitude of about 121 km and a speed of nearly 21 000 km/h. Less than six minutes later it will have landed on Mars. The probe will take images of Mars and conduct scientific measurements on the surface, but its main purpose is to test technology for a future European Mars rover. Schiaparelli's mother ship ,TGO, will remain in orbit to analyze gases in the Martian atmosphere to help answer whether there is or was life on Mars. (ESA/ATG-medialab via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The European Space Agency says it still hasn't received any signal from its experimental Mars lander since shortly before it was meant to reach the red planet's surface.

That means the planned "soft landing" of the Schiaparelli probe Wednesday likely failed, though there's no confirmation of that yet.

The head of ESA, Jan Woerner, said Thursday that the mission should still be considered a success because the probe sent a vast amount of data back before going silent.

He said the data will be used to plan a future European robotic mission to Mars planned for 2020.

Woerner said that the other part of the ExoMars mission, which involved putting a probe into the orbit of Mars to analyze gases in its atmosphere, worked exactly as planned.