Atomic nuclei play a fundamental role in the universe. Despite over a century of research, they still defy description from a basic nuclear theory. In particular, we do not understand how the structure of nuclei evolves across the nuclear landscape. Uncertainties in nuclear structure limit the fidelity with which we can describe astrophysical phenomena that are key to understanding the origin of the elements and the nature of dense matter. In this talk I will describe how nuclear physics experiments at radioactive and stable ion beam facilities are used to advance our understanding of nuclear structure evolution and exotic astrophysical environments. In particular, I will focus on recent measurements of relevance for explosions on neutron stars and for nuclear structure in the vicinity of semi-magic tin isotopes.