NASA scientist names asteroid after Malala Yousafzai

Published: April 10, 2015


An asteroid has been named after Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousufzai, the Malala Fund blog announced on Thursday.

“Although many asteroids have been named, very few have been named to honor the contributions of women (and particularly women of color),” Amy Mainzer, astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and principal investigator of the mission that discovered the asteroid, explained. “It is a great honor to be able to name an asteroid after Malala.”

Read: Malala Yousafzai becomes youngest-ever Nobel Prize winner

According to the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) rules, the discoverer of an asteroid has the right to name it. The asteroid, 316201 Malala (2010 ML48), lies in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter and orbits the sun every 5.5 years.

“From the heat emitted, we can also determine the size and reflectivity of the asteroid,” the researcher wrote. “It is about 4 kilometers in diameter, and its surface is very dark, the color of printer toner.”

Read: Inspirational book – ‘I am Malala’ to be taught at US university

Mainzer also had some advice: “My advice to young girls is that science and engineering are for everyone! We desperately need the brainpower of all smart people to solve some of humanity’s most difficult problems, and we can’t afford to reject half the population.”

In October last year, Malala became the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner, jointly winning the prestigious annual prize with Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • faheem
    Apr 10, 2015 - 11:01PM

    Great! Jet Propulsion Lab is highly reputedRecommend

  • hellodrsoul
    Apr 11, 2015 - 12:21AM

    Now Malala literally means a star. Thank you Mr. Amy Mainzer and love to Malala.Recommend

  • Dark Knight
    Apr 11, 2015 - 12:54AM

    Okay now they are actually crossing the line!Recommend

  • curious
    Apr 11, 2015 - 1:48AM

    One of the most popular Pakistan women ever – unfortunately she is a constant reminder to many Pakistanis of the failure of their govt and military to provide safety and therefore she has received unwarranted scorn. Perhaps it’s time to give this young lady a break – she didn’t do anything that warranted an attack – didn’t ask to be a World figure – and is making the best of a bad situation which is something that should be commended.Recommend

  • Allah Rukha
    Apr 11, 2015 - 5:38AM

    The world recognizes the Nobel laureates of Pakistan, other their own country. Heck Pakistanis don’t even spare the tombstone of Dr. Salaam. Recommend

  • yousafhaque
    Apr 11, 2015 - 7:49AM

    I feel so proud for Malala that an asteroid has been named after her.what a great honor for our courageous daughter.I hope that Pakistanis too will one day acknowledge her as our ownRecommend

  • kulwant singh
    Apr 11, 2015 - 6:53PM

    Congratulations brave child, request Pakistan and Pakistanis to recognise her she is a great asset of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Oraki Pakwatani
    Apr 12, 2015 - 9:05PM

    @hellodrsoul: Know the difference between a star and an asteroid.Recommend

  • Apr 13, 2015 - 5:14AM

    Just fail to understand about the publicity this over rated girl is getting. Pakistanis must understand that she and her comrades are cashing-in on her coincidental status. Every time she gets publicity Pakistan is remembered as an unstable, unsafe and terror ridden country where people cant live their lives. Where it seems the strategic assets are unsafe. For goodness sake Pakistanis try to understand this girl is as damaging as delusion Talibans. There are many other Pakistanis who have done more for our country and country men but why cant they get the profile on the world theatre. Wakeup Pakistanis. What has she really done for Pakistan.
    Look at what she has got from the incident, stay in England, secured job of her father with no civil service background, free high level schooling, publicity, celebrity status, money, awards etc. Just because of one bullet. Many poor Pakistanis die every day in Karachi, KPK, Punjab but do they get the same treatment. The answer is NO.
    Wakeup Pakistanis.Recommend

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