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316201 Malala is an asteroid in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter. Photo: Malala Fund

NASA astronomer names asteroid after Malala

WT24 Desk

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai now has an asteroid named after her, the Malala Fund announced Wednesday, reports mashable.com. Dr. Amy Mainzer, an astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, USA, named Asteroid 316201 after Malala. Dr. Mainzer discovered the asteroid, which gives her the right to name it, in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter. It orbits the Sun every 5.5 years; you can see its approximate location in the image below.

“Very few (asteroids) have been named to honor the contributions of women (and particularly women of color),” wrote Meinzer in a blog post. “It is a great honor to be able to name an asteroid after Malala. Malala Yousafzai received a joint Nobel Peace Prize with Kailash Satyarthi in December 2014, becoming the youngest person (and the first person from Pakistan) to ever be given the award.  She started a campaign to bring education to girls in Pakistan as an 11-old girl, writing a blog about the conditions in Swat Valley in Northern Pakistan. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012, barely surviving the attack. Her campaign to bring education to girls has since gone global.

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