a softer space

What We Do

Hey there,
We are A Softer Space - a new company focused on creating software for space research (Mars, we see you!), scientific research in general and anything else which is actually useful to someone with enthusiasm and flexibility rather than bureaucracy and legalese.
Have fun exploring our site and do not hesitate to get in contact!
Moya

Hippies Into Space!

Hippies! Queers! Vegans! Punks! Feminists! Nerds! Kinksters! Refugees!
Everyone is welcome here - we want to do fun space and science things together, and everyone can participate. You don't even have to wear a suit! (However, if you really happen to like suits, then yay for you; of course you may. ^^)
A lot of our fun is (and will be) freely available online, so you can just participate there if you feel like it. Of course, if you want to spend any serious amount of time working with our toys, then you can also just apply to work with us - just send us a message (preferably not much before summer 2018, as that is when we will officially start existing.)

Why Space?

We love space!
Look at some slick Soviet-designed space vehicles with their round bits and bobs like wonky insects with onions as their heads, or look at SpaceX landing rockets on drone ships named after spacecraft from the Culture series, or at Huygens landing on Titan and sending back a supercool hipster sepia photo...
Everything to do with space is awesome, cool - and yet incredibly difficult. But doing the impossible makes us mighty. Only when struggling against the greatest odds can we as humans truly shine the brightest, come up with wonderful innovations, and make giant leaps ahead. And so we choose to do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

But what about the people on Earth?

Shouldn't you spend, like, all your efforts on directly decreasing problems here on Earth, as long as there are still people living in poverty, and wars going on, and diseases spreading around, and...?
Yes, there are many problems that need to be addressed here on Earth.
However, focusing on space and science in general already allows us to have a positive impact, as pretty much all space technology in some way or another improves the lives of real people at home. We have the Sentinel satellites watching over us, helping respond to natural disasters more quickly and efficiently; we have the GPS satellite network enabling people to now get lost while staring at their smartphones rather than getting lost while staring at paper maps; we have solar panels on roofs, creating clean energy based on inventions originally made with space in mind; the list is endless.
Of course, not every problem will be miraculously fixed by science - but if we are only looking at ourselves and trying to improve ourselves, we will never get “out there.” There will always be some inequality to fix somewhere, some problem to overcome at home, some reason to keep us from adventuring out to the stars.
It seems that a balance needs to be found - a balance between boldly going forward and still focusing efforts on improving the conditions for all humans on this, our home planet. Trying to somewhat achieve this balance, we therefore are taking the Giving What We Can pledge, and are encouraging everyone else to do it too. We, as a company, will now and forever donate at least 10 percent of our net profit (say, yearly) to causes that have proven the most impactful in actually helping people out.

Science and Universities

We love science too!
As focusing on space alone would be very narrow and ultimately might be a bit boring, we also want to outreach to the wider scientific community and offer assistance with anything that is weird, new, interesting, groundbreaking, or in any other way, shape or form: fun.
We especially think that we can help with one particular problem that scientists at universities face all over the place: Students produce wonderful programs that can do amazing things, e.g. during their thesis - but then they leave, sometimes not managing to fully complete their projects, or to maintain them to ensure they are still working a year down the road. This leaves researchers with a whole variety of half-cooked tools that all kind-of-somehow-a-little-bit-but-not-really-work. We want to work together with you on such products and ensure that they do what is required of them, not just now, but also in the long run.
The same applies to scientists anywhere - if you are in the field and need a specific software tool to do xyz for you, and the tool does not yet exist: let us know, we can make it! If you work for a company and do research for them, but you are missing a particular program that would make your day in the lab so much more efficient - poke your manager until they hire us to make it for you! ;)
Knowing that money is very limited when doing scientific research, we are open to any and all proposals for how a meaningful exchange could still come to fruition - think outside the box; we really want to help you (but also feed our developers.)

Open Everything

We love FOSS (free and open source software), and we believe in freely available information in general.
You will not find us hiding any breakthroughs behind a paywall; instead, we love open access to both scientific data and software, and we love the idea of the Unlicense, which allows software to be used in literally whatever way you want. We are trying to make as much of our software available under this license, however as we do intend to work together with other companies which may not fully share our worldview, we cannot at this moment promise that we will always use the unlicense for everything we produce.

Military

We said before that everyone is welcome with us - however, there is one sector we gladly choose to not work with: The military.
A lot of aerospace companies take that sweet sweet military money, but we will not partake in it - no offense, no fucking “defense” either that in practice seems to mean the same thing most of the time.
The only thing our software might ever defend you from are natural disasters, and possibly zombies; never other humans. Those you will just have to talk to, sorry.
Sadly, even the European Space Agency, originally founded as entirely peaceful organisation, by now has fallen into the trap of betraying its own values just to get more assignments: “[...] “peaceful purposes” cannot be interpreted as restricting ESA’s capacity to conduct activities of [...] military nature.” (ESA council note ESA/C(2003)153)
FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

We are with Elua, not with Moloch.
If you want us to make software for weapons, well tough luck! We believe weapons always fucking kill people and are always bad. We are certain you will find enough people gladly working for you, but NOT US.
NOT NOW.
NOT EVER.
We are the good ones. Or at least we try as hard as we fucking can.
Srsly.