Battlescape calculates parameters so that it can know when to damage the ship. Call it a “stress” value that goes from 0.0 to 1.0. When it hits 0.5, the ship starts taking minor damage. By the time it hits 1.0, the ship is taking catastrophic damage.
Show that value to the player. Via glowies, instruments, camera shakes, whatever.
That will be sufficient for players to quickly learn what’s possible and what’s not. Assuming that players won’t start out in capitals, they’ll learn about atmospheres in the smaller ships first, and be properly informed by the time they’re in capitals.
Just give them the essential information and they’ll figure it out.