Nasa names asteroid after Malala

  • Agencies, Washington
  • Updated: Apr 12, 2015 01:17 IST

An asteroid discovered by a US astronomer has been named after Pakistan’s teenage education activist and the world youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

Amy Mainzer, an astronomer at Nasa in California, discovered an asteroid orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter and chose to name it after Malala.

The formal designation of the asteroid is 316201 Malala, or 2010 ML48. The asteroid orbits the Sun every 5.5 years.

“It is a great honour to be able to name an asteroid after Malala,” Mainzer said.

“My postdoctoral fellow Dr Carrie Nugent brought to my attention the fact that although many asteroids have been named, very few have been named to honour the contributions of women (and particularly women of colour),” he added.

Malala became the youngest Noble Peace Laureate last year when he was declared winner with Indian child right activist Kailash Satharthi.

She was attacked by Taliban in 2012 for standing up for the right of girls to attend school in her native Swat region which was controlled by Taliban from 2007 to 2009 when they were expelled by Pakistan army. Taliban destroyed hundreds of school in the areas and banned female education.

Last month, Malala contributed $50,000 for the reopening of a school in occupied Gaza in eastern Khan Younis area of Gaza Strip. The school has over 1,100 students who returned to classrooms in mid-March, according to a statement issued by the UN relief agency. The school building was one of the 83 schools that were affected by Israeli attacks.

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