Scientists at the European Space Agency have received no signal from the Schiaparelli module since it attempted a risky landing on the surface of Mars. ESA scientists are waiting for data from a probe in Mars' orbit to confirm whether the craft landed safely.

The ground module of the joint European-Russian mission was supposed to land at 14:47 GMT, and the most immediate confirmation of success was to come through an array of radio telescopes located in India, but so far they have failed to provide a clear signal from the Schiparelli probe. The ESA has cautioned that this method of detection was still "experimental," however.

ESA Operations Control Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, will now rely on the Mars Express probe to beam back data from the landing module. A more definitive update is expected later on Wednesday.

If successful, the Schiaparelli would be the first European probe to manage a soft landing on the Red Planet since the Soviet Mars 3, which lost signal within 15 seconds of hitting the surface in 1971.

The previous European attempt in 2003, the Beagle 2, crash landed in what the project heads described as a "heroic failure."

The purpose of the ExoMars expedition, which also consists of an orbital module, is to determine if life was possible on Mars, through a thorough analysis of the gases in its atmosphere.