Even if we fail in our ultimate goal, we will learn a great deal more than we are learning from present approaches.
In Engineering and the Ultimate (2014), [Arminius] Mignea tackles this very question by providing engineering specifications for the necessary components, functions, processes, and information of a simplest self-replicator (SSR):
The SSR is defined as having an enclosure with input and output gateways and having the ability to create an exact replica of itself by ingesting and processing materials from its environment. (p. 169)
He adds that
… the three closure rules which must be satisfied by a true self-replicator — energy closure, material closure, and the information closure — place an extraordinary burden onto the design and implementation of self-replicating objects. (p. 209)
Closure involves providing a complete account, no step left out, of the exact way each requirement is met. It sounds somewhat like this: More.
Just the time saved from no longer bothering with the vastly improbable would likely result in more energy and creativity, which will surely result in learning much more about life.
See also: With Enceladus the toast of the solar system, here’s a wrap-up of the origin-of-life problem
The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (origin of life)