Dawn launched in 2007 on a journey that put about 4.3 billion miles (6.9 billion kilometers) on its odometer. Propelled by ion engines, the spacecraft achieved many firsts until its extended mission concluded on Nov. 1, 2018.
In 2011, when Dawn arrived at Vesta, the second largest world in the main asteroid belt, the spacecraft became the first to orbit a body in the region between Mars and Jupiter.
In 2015, when Dawn went into orbit around Ceres, a dwarf planet that is also the largest world in the asteroid belt, the mission became the first to visit a dwarf planet and go into orbit around two destinations beyond Earth.
Among its accomplishments, Dawn showed how important location was to the way objects in the early solar system formed and evolved. Dawn also reinforced the idea that dwarf planets could have hosted oceans over a significant part of their history – and potentially still do. The data Dawn beamed back to Earth from its four science experiments enabled scientists to compare two planet-like worlds that evolved very differently.