Dr. Amy Mainzer is scientist at NASA. One day while talking to her colleague she realised that out of all the asteroids that are named after people to honour them, only a handful have been named after women for their contribution, even less is the number of women of colour that get this honour.
Dr. Amy discovered the Asteroid 316201, the fact that she found it gives her the right to name it too!
She was inspired by Malala Yousafzai’s story. Malala was shot in the head when she was 15 years old by the Taliban in Pakistan as she fought to go to school while they had threatened her family to keep her at home, she wanted to go to school anyway and she almost gave her life for the sake of education.
Today, Malala received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 making her the youngest person to receive this honour. She is also an activist for Girls’ education.
Through the “Malala Fund” she works to ensure that girls across the world have access to safe, free and quality education for up to 12 years.
Dr Amy had read about Malala and her story, they thought that “If anyone deserves to have an asteroid named after them, it’s her”
She said that the name of this asteroid will remind younger people that “science and engineering are for everyone”. Girls can make a difference too, even if they’re just 15.
Malala was faced with a really tough choice, does she give in to the Taliban? or does she go to school and make a name for herself? Not only did she fight the Taliban, but her name was also known all around the world and she made sure to use the platform she was given in the best way possible – by making sure no girl has to think before choosing to go to school.
At 22 years old, Malala has already won numerous awards and continues to be honoured for her contribution to the world everyday.