Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen activist who campaigns for her right, and the right of all women, to an education, has had an asteroid named after her.
Last October, she became the youngest person ever to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, after Taliban militants who were against educating girls tried to kill her. Yousafzai survived and continued her campaign.
Dr Amy Mainzer, a scientist who searches for asteroids at NASA, wrote on the Malala Fund blog that “if anyone deserves to have an asteroid named after them, she does.”
The asteroid is between Mars and Jupiter and orbits the Sun every five and a half years, as Mainzer explained on the Malala Fund blog. It now has the name 316201 Malala, or 2010 ML48.
Mainzer is also the science consultant for a new children’s series about astronomy and science, on the U.S. public TV channel PBS Kids. On her blog post, she says her “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's [brainpower].”
The right of girls, and the right of all young people, to an education, is what Malala has been fighting for over the past few years.
In 2008, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban said all female education had to stop, or schools would suffer consequences. In 2012, Taliban militants attacked a school bus Malala was on. They asked for her by name and shot her in the head, targeting her because of her campaign for girls’ rights. Malala survived and continued her campaign, going on to address world leaders at the United Nations and asking them to provide free compulsory education for all children.
"They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed," she said at the time.
"The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions," she said, "but nothing changed in my life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born."