Asteroid Named After Anti-Taliban Activist

Malala Yousafzai honored by NASA researcher
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2015 1:39 PM CDT
Malala Honored Near Jupiter, Mars
Joint-Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan speaks on stage during the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.    (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

A dark rock you might spot orbiting the sun every 5.5 years now has its own name: 316201 Malala (2010 ML48). The part we all understand—Malala—refers to Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, 17, who drew the world's attention by defying Taliban rule and surviving an assassination attempt in 2012, io9 reports. "It is a great honor to be able to name an asteroid after Malala," writes NASA's Amy Mainzer at the Malala Fund Blog. Her team discovered the 2.5-mile-wide asteroid floating on the Main Belt between Jupiter and Mars, so she had naming rights. She adds that while "many asteroids have been named, very few have been named to honor the contributions of women (and particularly women of color). ... My advice to young girls is that science and engineering are for everyone!" (Read more Malala Yousafzai stories.)

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