The knowledge of the properties of nuclei far from stability both on the neutron and on the proton rich side is essential for addressing several open questions in Nuclear Astrophysics. In particular, measurements with radioactive beams are currently being pursued around the world since they can provide fundamental data needed for a better comprehension of the stellar evolution and of the elemental abundance in the Universe. New evidences, made possible by recent advances in astronomical observation or with a more refined geochemical analysis of meteorites, are providing fresh new data on the abundance distribution inside and outside the solar system. All these recent findings are posing new challenges in theoretical modelling of the chemical evolution of the Universe. At present, the calculation models fail in reproducing some aspects of the observed abundance pattern.
While more theoretical work is needed to clarify these issues, experimental constraints are requested to both guide the theory and provide data that represent fundamental inputs in the model calculations. This requires a more complete understanding of the nuclear physics underlying Stellar Nucleosinthesis.
In this respect, the SPES project will provide an important contribution to the large experimental and theoretical efforts currently devoted worldwide to the field of Nuclear Astrophysics. The intense radioactive beams, which will be produced at SPES, will open up new possibilities for measuring basic nuclear physics quantities related to the still unresolved issues of the chemical evolution of the Universe and shedding more light on processes like Supernovae explosions or X-ray bursts.