A recent study has revealed a deeper insight on how star dust plays a very important role in the formation of life-supporting planets.
The study described how recreating isotopes that occur when a star explodes can help physicists understand where life-supporting elements might be found in space.
For the first time, a research team led by the University of Surrey, Japan's RIKEN Nishina Centre and the University of Beihang, was able to observe the isotopes of certain elemental chemicals formed as a star explodes.
The isotopes of these elements (samarium and gadolinium) are sensitive tracers of the way that stars explode, and therefore help in understanding the origins of the heavy elements that are needed to support life in the universe.
The study is published in the journal Physical Review Letters.