Dawn is now so far from the sun that even with its tremendous solar arrays, it does not receive enough sunlight to generate sufficient electrical power to operate all systems and still achieve maximum thrust.
Dawn usually interrupts ion thrusting once a week for about eight hours to point its main antenna to Earth. On November 30, however, instead of resuming thrusting, it dutifully followed different instructions that were stored onboard.
Dawn entered the main asteroid belt on November 13. As it ventures ever deeper into this vast collection of material between Mars and Jupiter, it may be tempting to think of the spacecraft constantly dodging asteroids.