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April 16, 2015

An asteroid for Malala


April 16, 2015

The youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner and girls’ education campaigner Malala Yousafzai now has an asteroid named after her. Astronomer Dr Amy Mainzer discovered the asteroid in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter and that gives her the right to name it. The formal designation of the asteroid is 316201 Malala, or 2010 ML48.
She said: “It is a great honour 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 honour the contributions of women (and particularly women of colour).” Mainzer also advised young girls that science and engineering are for everyone. We desperately need the brainpower of all smart people to solve some of the humanity’s most difficult problems and we cannot afford to reject half the population. Malala’s cause is universal – getting education is the fundamental right of everyone without any barrier and discrimination. And her cause has now taken her beyond this world.
Muhammad Yasir Kayani
A person has to be highly impressive and inspiring to have something named after him/her. This is exactly what happened when NASA scientist Amy Mainzer decided to immortalise Malala by naming an asteroid after her.
While the world appreciates Malala it is sad that we have abandoned her like all those martyrs who have fallen victims to the barbarity of the Taliban. Pakistanis have not honoured her in the way that she should have been. Instead the word Malala has become a very controversial topic. We need to break free from the mindset that is stopping us from living like decent human beings and fight the inflexible extremist-minded people among us.
Barrister Mobeen Shah
United Kingdom

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