CNN tricked into reporting the end of the world

For a minute there, we only had about 27 years left.

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The Independent Online

Better start penning your bucket list, because 'life on this planet could be extinguished in less than 30 years from now' by a giant asteroid, at least according to a news story on CNN's iReport website.

iReport is the news network's citizen journalism initiative which allows basically anyone to submit stories un-edited and un-fact-checked (seriously), though it still clearly carries the CNN masthead and attracts considerable traffic.

The article from 'iReporter' Marcus575 claimed that scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory had "detected a large object the size of Manhattan possibly on a collision course with Earth," attracting almost 200,000 views and 54,000 shares on social media.

The interest in the story came in spite of obvious signs it may not be entirely valid, including the fact that the asteroid is expected to strike Earth on "March 35, 2014".

Bruce Willis won't need to be dispatched for asteroid demolition after all (Picture: Touchstone)

Then again, perhaps Marcus575's powers of clairvoyance led him to discover a change to our dating system in the future, in which case he might be bang on the money and we're all doomed.

CNN has since pulled the article (though you can still view the cached version of it here), with the page now reading:

"NASA has confirmed via email that this story is false. A spokeswoman for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory says that the largest object detected by NEOWISE measures 3 km in diameter and poses no risk to Earth. The iReport has been removed."