A mining torpedo, mining missile or mining nuke is a piece of Jupiter Mining Corporation equipment. It is an explosive projectile that can be launched at space bodies such as asteroids to blow them apart, which would then aid in recovering ores from the interior.
Although meant for commercial use, they could also be used for offensive purposes.
It is likely that the experimental thermonuclear missile fired from Starbug and used to destroy a white hole was a modified mining torpedo. This nuke enabled Dave Lister to 'play pool with planets', using his knowledge of gravity pool to perform a 'trick shot' by firing the missile into a star causing a solar flare which in turn sent a planet into the White Hole to block it up. ("White Hole", Series IV)
A panicked Arnold Rimmer once launched a mining torpedo from Starbug at SS Nautilus, since it was carrying explosive nuclear material and was also drifting dangerously closer to an asteroid belt and where Starbug was. Although Rimmer had intended to destroy the ship, the torpedo clipped an asteroid first and missed its target, so it merely destroyed a wing of the ship and the explosion actually pushed it away from danger.
The bio-printed captain of Nautilus, Edwin Herring, believed that Rimmer's actions were deliberate, and so bestowed upon Rimmer a promotion from second tech to First Flight Lieutenant, unaware of Rimmer's true actions or subsequent gross deception. ("Officer Rimmer", Series XI)
The Promised Land
When the boys from the Dwarf became buried in Starbug under the surface of a desert planetoid after a chase with the Feral Cats, they were saved by Holly who fired a mining nuke from Red Dwarf at the planetoid, despite the plan likely killing the Dwarfers and Holly's calculations being woefully incorrect. The first missile missed the planetoid, so Holly fired a second mining missile which exploded the planetoid to smithereens. Fortunately, Starbug was sturdy enough to survive the blast and was thrown clear of the debris. Holly then swung Red Dwarf around to pick them up, but forgot to mention that the Ferals had taken over Red Dwarf.
The Ferals then placed a massive, timed bomb aboard Red Dwarf before teleporting away. It is very possible given the English digital readouts in the bomb that the bomb was actually Red Dwarf mining explosives used against the ship. However, Rimmer was able to supercharge his hologram using the Anubis Stone to become "The Mighty Light", and took the bomb out into space where it harmlessly exploded. (The Promised Land)
- Mining torpedoes would have been useful when the Dwarfers spent two whole series stranded in Starbug and faced various threats (this occurred Series VI-VII). Presumably, Kryten or the skutters had forgotten to load the 'bug with torpedoes during this time, or they had simply already been used on that particular 'bug. Fortunately, they did manage to acquire laser cannons for Starbug during that time.