She's survived an assassination attempt and won a Nobel Prize. Now, 17-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai is getting an asteroid named after her.
Asteroid "316201 Malala" was named Friday after Yousafzai, said Don Yeomans, a member of the International Astronomical Union Committee on Small Bodies Nomenclature.
Discovered in 2010, the asteroid is located in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter. Orbiting the sun every five-and-a-half years, it is about 4 kilometers in diameter. Its surface is very dark, the color of printer toner.
Amy Mainzer, an astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, who discovered the asteroid, wrote on the Malala Fund blog that she decided to name the asteroid for Malala after her postdoctoral student Carrie Nugent brought to her attention that "few have been named in honor of 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.
Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi of India in December 2014, making her the youngest person to receive the award.
She drew the attention of the world after being shot by Taliban gunmen in 2012. The group had targeted her after she became a symbol of resistance to the Taliban's attempts to curtail education for girls in Pakistan's Swat Valley.