NASA will attempt to lower a probe onto the surface of Mars for the first time as it continues its search for signs of life on the red planet, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday.

The new approach to landing a rover on the planet, to be attempted in August, will involve winching it slowly to the surface using nylon ropes attached to a spacecraft overhead.

Once the probe, named Curiosity, has safely reached the ground the 25 feet-long cords will be cut and the parent ship will use rockets to fire itself well away from the probe for a crash landing.

But NASA experts admitted the project, which will come to a head during the attempted landing on August 6, is a gamble which could prove to be a 1.7 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) disaster.

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