Some researchers think they are closer:
Researchers think they’re getting warmer: They’ve created amino acids and primitive membranes by simulating conditions found at scalding vents on the ocean floor
Scientists suspect that deep hot vents like these might have seeded life on Earth about 4 billion years ago. Some hydrothermal vents release alkaline fluids, which could supply the energy needed to build complex organic molecules. And the basic chemistry of life “appears to match what you might expect if life began in this hot, dark, chemical-energy-powered setting,” says earth system scientist Timothy Lenton of the UK’s University of Exeter, a coauthor of a 2017 article on ocean biogeochemistry in the Annual Review of Marine Science.
The vent hypothesis is somewhat controversial, but recent experiments lend weight to it. In one, NASA astrobiologist Laurie Barge and her colleagues showed how amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, could have formed near alkaline vents. Barge, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, became interested in the origin of life on Earth while searching for life not on Earth. Geology and biology would be closely linked anywhere, she says — whether on another planet or in a deep-sea vent here on Earth. …
Some scientists aren’t convinced that life originated at a deep, alkaline hydrothermal vent. David Deamer, a biophysicist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is one of several who say that salty ocean water would destroy the fatty acids needed to create cell membranes. He has shown that vesicles can form in freshwater — no deep-sea vents needed — by wetting and drying fatty acids. He offers the example of blowing soap bubbles. Soap is disordered in a solution with water, but blow a puff of air into it and the molecules assemble themselves into a membrane. Anne N. Connor, “Searching high and low for the origins of life” at Knowable Magazine
Actually, this is just another spin on hydrothermal vents. They were bound to be a hot idea. Trouble is, there is no way to be sure how life originated, even if you could create life yourself, using a specific recipe. That might not have been the actual one. Life may also have had multiple origins. But it is fun to read about.
Hydrothermal vents today:
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips – origin of life What we do and don’t know about the origin of life.