Tongue Tied
"What do you call one of them giant meteorites all covered in flames?"
- The Cat ("Psirens", Series VI)

Using garbage bombs from the waste disposal filled with nitro to explode rogue asteroids ("Psirens", Series VI)

The terms asteroid, comet, meteoroid and meteorite are often used interchangeably in the Red Dwarf universe to mean the same thing. Dave Lister and Arnold Rimmer preferred the term "asteroid", whilst Kryten, the Cat and Holly more often used the term "meteorite."


Asteroids are, generally speaking, rocks in space. Although most asteroids are barren and airless, they can be very large and have their own significant gravity. Some are big enough to be classified as minor planets or planetoids, and a small number even have a breathable atmosphere.

Meteoroids tend to be smaller than most asteroids, not much bigger than the space dust that make up dust storms. A comet is an asteroid which is fast moving, and as it travels through a solar system develops its own tail. A meteorite is a term given to any classification of asteroid which has collided with a planetary body or spaceship.

Television Series

Since it was a mining spaceship, the Red Dwarf could use its ramscoop and docking feet to clasp onto passing asteroids for the purposes of mining them. Red Dwarf itself also had two large asteroids, or small moons, buried into the bottom of the hull, likely for the same purposes.

About a decade or so before Dave Lister came out of stasis aboard Red Dwarf, the Felis sapiens which had evolved on the ship over the previous three million years escaped in two great Cat Arks. The Cats followed the divine map of Cloister the Stupid to Fuchal, actually one of Lister's old laundry lists. One of the Cat Arks immediately crashed into an asteroid. The other Cat Ark, containing one of the two great religious factions of the species, sped on into Deep Space assured of their righteousness. ("The End", "Waiting for God" Series I, Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers)

After coming out of stasis aboard the now-empty Red Dwarf, Lister often sung a song that mentions mining asteroids whilst riding around the corridors on his space bike. It began with:

In a crater, on a ast'roid excavating for a mine,
lived an old plutonium miner, and his daughter Clementine...

 ("Future Echoes", Series I)

When Rimmer was convinced he had discovered the existence of Quagaars after picking up a mysterious space pod, Lister was quick to point out to Rimmer that there were no aliens out there - it was just them, and a load of smegging space rocks. ("Waiting for God", Series I)

The boys from the Dwarf initially rescued Kryten from the wreck of the Nova 5, which had crashed into an asteroid eons before, when Red Dwarf passed by the asteroid and Holly picked up Kryten's S.O.S. After Lister taught Kryten to break his programming and rebel against an overbearing Rimmer, Kryten took off in Lister's space bike to grow his own garden somewhere, Kryten's dream. ("Kryten", Series II) However, Kryten smashed into an asteroid again, and Lister would later recover Kryten and rebuild him, although the space bike was apparently a write-off since it was not seen again. ("Dad", "Backwards", Series III)

Boom ("Queeg", Series II)

Whilst the gang idled in the sleeping quarters, Holly interjected with an important announcement, but then forgot what he had meant to say. Suddenly Red Dwarf shook after a massive impact, throwing the gang around the bunkroom. Holly then remembered what he was going to say - brace yourselves because a meteor was about to hit the ship. Growing increasingly annoyed with their senile computer, the gang make numerous complaints to Holly and insult him. Soon after, Rimmer's legs begin to walk about on their own, since the meteorite impact had damaged the Hologram Simulation Suite on Floor 592. Lister went down to fix the damage, but Holly told Lister to connect the wrong cables, nearly killing Lister. ("Queeg", Series II)

Err, Listy...

A meteorite hits Starbug in the Sigma 14 solar system ("Marooned", Series III)

When Holly thought she'd seen five black holes approaching Red Dwarf, the gang quickly evacuated with the plan to rendezvous on Sigma 14-D. The Cat and Kryten took a Blue Midget, whilst Lister and Rimmer took a Starbug. However, Starbug was hit by a flaming meteorite, and crashed onto a barren ice planet. ("Marooned", Series III)

One of Rimmer's favourite hobbies was "asteroid spotting" in the shuttles, forcing Kryten to accompany him and fly the shuttle. It was during one such trip in Starbug that they discovered a crashed ship with a sole female survivor aboard. ("Camille", Series IV)

Dave Lister blasts the Starbug landing gear free from the asteroid with a bazookoid ("Psirens", Series VI)

When Starbug crashed into an asteroid belt swarming with Psirens, Lister went outside to blast the landing gear free with a bazookoid, since the air was very thin but breathable. One Psiren appeared to Lister as his his adolescent fantasy, but Lister was spared when the Psirens started fighting each other over Lister's brains. Lister was able to get back aboard Starbug, but not before a Psiren got on board pretending to be Lister too. ("Psirens", Series VI)

The Kinitawowi carved a massive stone warning beacon out of a mile-wide asteroid, marking the territory of their moon. In the shape of a GELF skull, Starbug was saved from the pulse missiles of an Enforcement Orb by flying into the eye-socket of the stone icon. Although this bought Starbug critical time to escape, it did so with heavy damage, and the stone icon was destroyed in the process. ("Emohawk", Series VI)

When the refrigeration unit of Starbug packed in, Kryten was able to keep Lister and the Cat from starving by cooking disgusting moulds and fungi scraped off passing asteroids. ("Rimmerworld", Series VI)

Starbug is nearly wrecked by the comet's tail ("Blue", Series VII)

When trying to get to a Dimensional Tear to get Kochanski back home to her boyfriend, Starbug attempted to cross through the tail of a comet. The attempt was unsuccessful, almost destroying Starbug. ("Blue", Series VII)

Years later, the Dwarfers used a Blue Midget to hide inside an asteroid within an asteroid field from the Simulant Generals in the Simulant Death Ship. ("The Beginning", Series X)

The Dwarfers narrowly avoided collision with an oncoming asteroid storm following their escape from Asclepius's Station. ("Give & Take", Series XI)


See Also