Back when the first life originated on Earth, the planet was a hot, unwelcome place--a mix of chemicals, rocks, and not much else. Somehow, in the midst of all this unpleasantness, something came alive for the first time. To find out how, scientists recently recreated some of these primordial conditions in the lab to find out how. They built chemical gardens, tiny replicas of the conditions at hydrothermal vents on the seafloor, where life might have originated. Like their real-world counterparts, the chemical gardens resemble chimneys rising from the depths of the sea (or the depths of the test tube).