What was the ultimate fate of the Viking 2 Orbiter? According to NASA:
The orbiter developed a leak in its propulsion system that vented its attitude control gas. It was placed in a 302 x 33176 km orbit and turned off on 25 July 1978 after returning almost 16,000 images in 706 orbits around Mars.
But this doesn't say what happened to the orbiter. Did it crash into Mars's surface? If so, do we know where it crashed? Or is it still up there, orbiting? And what does that orbital notation (302 x 33176 km) mean? NASA's catalog says of the Viking 1 Orbiter:
On 7 August 1980 Viking 1 Orbiter was running low on attitude control gas and its orbit was raised from 357 x 33943 km to 320 x 56000 km to prevent impact with Mars and possible contamination until the year 2019. Operations were terminated on 17 August 1980 after 1485 orbits.
So Viking 1 is still orbiting until 2019 (which is coming up, I wonder if they have any plans on that). But Viking 2's orbit was lower, so could it have already crashed? The landers were sterilized, but the orbiters were not, so they could contaminate the surface, if there are any microbes alive on them (not that other spacecraft haven't crashed on Mars).