Malala Yousafzai honoured with asteroid

An asteroid has been named in honour of Malala Yousafzai, the children's rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

Outspoken advocate for girls' education was critically injured in 2012 during Taliban attack

Malala Yousafzai was critically injured after a Taliban gunman shot her in the face while riding on a school bus in Pakistan three years ago. (Cornelius Poppe/NTB Scanpix/Reuters)

An asteroid has been named in honour of Malala Yousafzai, the children's rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

The four-kilometre wide object orbits the Sun every 5.5 years between Mars and Jupiter, according to a post from the NASA scientist who discovered it. The asteroid's official name is 316201 Malala.

"If anyone deserves to have an asteroid named after them, she does!" Amy Mainzer wrote in an article on the Malala Fund Blog.

Yousafzai, 17, won the Nobel Peace Prize last year along with India's Kailash Satyarthi, whose work also involves protecting the interests of young people. 

An outspoken advocate for girls' education, Yousafzai was shot in the face while riding on a school bus in Pakistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the 2012 attack.

Mainzer said it was a great honour to be able to name an asteroid after Yousafzai. 

"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)," she wrote. 

Yousafzai founded and works with the Malala Fund to advocate for girls' education around the world. She is the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 


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