This 17-Year-Old Girl Just Became The First Malaysian To Have An Asteroid Named After Her

It's more than just a prestigious honour to have. It's having your name immortalised.

Cover image via NST

Earlier on 10th July 2015, 17-year-old Faye Jong-Sow Fei had her name literally immortalised by having an asteroid named after her, and in doing so she became the first Malaysian with such an honour

Faye Jong-Sow Fei.

Image via Intel Malaysia

The Lincoln Laboratory Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) Team named the asteroid 31460Jongsowfei after Faye to honour her success at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Image via Vulcan Post

The Lincoln Observatory Near-Earth Object Team (Linear) has named the asteroid as 31460Jongsowfei (1999 CV19) to honour her success at last year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for her environmental management project.

LINEAR is a project funded by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States Air Force and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory to track and discover asteroids near our planet.

Her project, “Biowaste as Eco-Friendly Materials Mordnts in Fabric Dye Process” did not only earn her the Environmental Management Award, but also given Jong an opportunity to join the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Poland last year.

Bio-waste materials such as mangosteen skin can be used as a mordant to dye cotton fabric, together with onion skin extract. The project not only replaced the usage of hazardous chemical mordants with bio-waste material, but also helped recycle bio-waste itself.

The Malaysian National Space Agency (ANGKASA) shared a message on its Facebook page, congratulating Faye, who hails from Kuching, Sarawak, for earning such a rare recognition

Image via MD

"On behalf of ANGKASA and all Malaysians, we would like to congratulate Faye Jong Sow Fei from SMK Batu Lintang, Kuching for earning the honor of the Lincoln Observatory Near-Earth Object to have her name immortalized on a main-belt asteroid named ‪#‎31460Jongsowfei‬ (1999 CV19)."

"This honor was bestowed on her in recognition of her achievements for being as awarded best of category and first place in the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for her environmental management project. She also received the European Union Contest for Young Scientists Award."

Speaking with The Sun, Faye said:

"I am very honoured for the award. I was informed last year that the asteroid will be named after me. I am very delighted having won the competition last year. It was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me and I hope that those following my footsteps one day will make full use of the golden chance that is bestowed upon them to weave wonderful and lasting memories that will be with them forever."

"I have checked with the National Space Agency (Angkasa) and they told me I was the first Malaysian to receive such an honour and I am pleased with that."

Asteroid 31460Jongsowfei was discovered on 10 Feb 1999 by the Lincoln Laboratory Near-Earth Asteroid Research Team at Socorro

According to theSun, “31460 Jongsowfei is one of over a hundred new planets given new names, as the process of giving a name to an asteroid can take decades as experts must establish that they are not observing an already known object, which is hard, since asteroids all look almost similar.”

A student of S.M.K Batu Lintang in Kuching, Faye's school blog has a detailed account of her journey towards her achievement so far

Image via NST