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Asteroid named after Malala Yousafzai

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An asteroid will be known as Malala after Nobel Peace Prize winner Pakistani-origin was honoured, the Malala Fund blog announced on Thursday.

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‘Although a number of asteroids have been attributed, quite a few have been named to honour the contributions of women (and particularly women of colour),’ explained Amy Mainzer – astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and principal investigator of the mission that discovered the asteroid.

Mainzer said it’s a great honour to be able to name an asteroid after Malala.

In the light of the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) rules, the discoverer of an asteroid has the privilege to name it. The asteroid, 316010 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,” wrote the researcher. ‘It is about 4 kilometres in diameter, and its surface is very dark, the colour of printer toner.”

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Earlier, Malala became the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner, jointly named the prestigious prize with Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi. She was given this honour in recognition of her devotional and unrelenting struggle for peace across the world.

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