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15 December 2015
When carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas mingle deep underground, they transform into methane and water—the building blocks of life.
Scientists once thought the reaction, called Sabatier synthesis, could only proceed above 150 degrees Celsius. Life, they thought, was conceived deep in the scalding vents of an ancient ocean. But the Sabatier process also runs cooler, finds a new study presented at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. With the right catalyst, the reaction works at room temperature, the study found.