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Asteroid named after Malala Yousafzai – NASA honors the teenage Noble prize winner calling asteroid “316201 Malala”

Asteroid named after Malala Yousafzai – NASA honors the teenage Noble prize winner calling asteroid “316201 Malala”

Asteroid 316201 Malala was named Friday after Yousafzai, said Don Yeomans, a member of the International Astronomical Union Committee on Small Bodies Nomenclature.

The asteroid lies in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter and was discovered by Amy Mainzer which gives her the right to name it. The formal name of the asteroid is 2010 ML48 or 316201 Malala.

Sharing her sentiments, Mainzer wrote at the Malala Fund Blog:

It is a great honor to be able to name an asteroid after Malala, 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 honor the contributions of women (and particularly women of color).

Carrie and I read about Malala s amazing story and thought that if anyone deserves to have an asteroid named after them, she does, Mainzer wrote.

The asteroid has been located between Mars and Jupiter. The astronomers observed that the object has an extremely dark surface. The celestial object is 4km (2.5 miles) in diameter, and orbits sun once in every 5.5 years.

In the light of the International Astronomical Union s (IAU) rules, the discoverer of an asteroid has the privilege to name it.

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

Asteroids are small rocky objects which orbit around the sun especially those of the inner Solar System. The larger ones have also been called planetoids. Historically any astronomical object orbiting the Sun that did not show the disc of a planet and was not observed to have the characteristics of an active comet was called an asteroid. As minor planets in the outer Solar System were discovered, they were often distinguished from traditional asteroids.

Earlier, Malala became the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner, jointly named the prestigious prize with Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi. She was given this honor in recognition of her courageous and unrelenting struggle for right of education for children and peace.

 

Asteroid named after Malala Yousafzai – NASA honors the teenage Noble prize winner calling asteroid “316201 Malala”

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