04/11/2015 11:32 EDT | Updated 06/11/2015 05:59 EDT

Malala Yousafzai Honoured With Asteroid

Andrew Burton via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 18: Malala Yousafzai, an education and women's rights activist, attends a conference on the United Nation's (UN) Millenium Development Goals on August 18, 2014 in New York City. Malala also met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

An asteroid has been named in honour of Malala Yousafzai, the children's rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

The four-kilometre wide object orbits the Sun every 5.5 years between Mars and Jupiter, according to a post from the NASA scientist who discovered it. The asteroid's official name is 316201 Malala.

"If anyone deserves to have an asteroid named after them, she does!" Amy Mainzer wrote in an article on the Malala Fund Blog.

Yousafzai, 17, won the Nobel Peace Prize last year along with India's Kailash Satyarthi, whose work also involves protecting the interests of young people. 

An outspoken advocate for girls' education, Yousafzai was shot in the face while riding on a school bus in Pakistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the 2012 attack.

Mainzer said it was a great honour to be able to name an asteroid after Yousafzai. 

"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)," she wrote. 

Yousafzai founded and works with the Malala Fund to advocate for girls' education around the world. She is the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 

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