Mars View from space as Mars Global Surveyor approached the Red planet before the insertion into orbit. The Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) took this image on August 20, 1997, when the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) was 5.67 million kilometers and 22 days from entering orbit. At this distance, the MOC's resolution is about 21.2 km per picture element, and the 6800 km (4200 mile) diameter planet is about 327 pixels across. North is at the top of the image. The atmosphere of the planet is so thin that it cannot be perceived from that distance. Although the Martian atmosphere is structured in layers at different altitudes in a comparable way as the Earth, it does not have an ozone layer. The Ozone Layer is a region of the atmosphere from 19 to 48 km (12 to 30 mi) above the Earth's surface that plays a critical role in the survival of living organisms. The lack of an ozone layer on Mars causes the harmful UV radiations to strike the surface of the planet. Because of that, no exposed living organisms could currently survived at the surface. It is also a cause of concern for future human crew that will need to be protected.
Source: NASA