It was only just yesterday that NASA announced its Kepler space telescope had officially been declared dead and now there's another long-running mission that has also met its demise.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the NASA science mission directorate in Washington, hailed Dawn's "vital science" and "incredible technical achievements". "The astounding images and data that Dawn collected from Vesta and Ceres are critical to understanding the history and evolution of our solar system".
It was an expected end to the mission, although the spacecraft lasted two years longer than originally planned.
Dawn missed two communication sessions with NASA's Deep Space Network the past two days, which means it has lost the ability to turn its antennae toward the Earth or its solar panels toward the sun.
In 2011, Dawn became the first to orbit a body in the region between Mars and Jupiter when the spacecraft arrived at Vesta, the second largest world in the main asteroid belt.
The unmanned spacecraft has travelled 4.3 billion miles (6.9 billion kilometers) since launching in 2007. The engineers have more than 99 percent confidence the orbit will last for at least 50 years, NASA stated on its website.
Then it moved on to the dwarf planet Ceres in 2015, becoming the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet and the only spacecraft to orbit one, NASA said.
Currently, Dawn is in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt - which is also the largest in the asteroid belt - where it will remain for at least 20 years.
"The fact that my car's license plate frame proclaims, 'My other vehicle is in the main asteroid belt, ' shows how much pride I take in Dawn", said mission director and chief engineer Marc Rayman at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Dawn's data sets will be deeply mined by scientists working on how planets grow and differentiate, and when and where life could have formed in our solar system".
Dawn also reinforced the idea that dwarf planets could have hosted oceans over a significant part of their history - and potentially still do.
"In many ways, Dawn's legacy is just beginning", Principal Investigator Carol Raymond at JPL said. "Ceres and Vesta are important to the study of distant planetary systems too, as they provide a glimpse of the conditions that may exist around young stars".