If the industrial and information ages have lead to a decline in human spirit, is simply looking back to ancient times a suitable answer?
No. Then we merely project our desires onto the past.
Because they are both technological accomplishments. Look at it this way: the Wonders of the World were something more because they represented people's culture. What does space exploration represent? To me it represents the culture of carny rides, more intelligent of course but it comes down to the same thing. Btw porn also allows me to more directly experience that which once could only be imagined (sorry bout that one, I couldn't resist)
I disagree with this almost entirely. I understand that there are comparisons to be made between carnival rides and space shuttles, but these are superficial comparisons-- ideologically these 'technological achievements' represent two entirely different matters.
Which is superior:
1. A culture that looks at the night sky and connects the dots to find anthropomorphic figures around which to develop a mythology. Perhaps the bright dots are also seen as the souls of vanquished warriors.
2. A culture where technology has developed to the point where these 'celestial bodies' can be analyzed and quantified. This culture supports men who risk (and lose) their lives in order to see what is really out there.
Answer: neither. Both are working within their means, both have their mythologies, both have their convictions. Thousands of years from now, those looking back at our era could, for all we know, discover the ancient ruins of our spacecraft and be amazed at these achievements. Again, the only reason you are able to so readily write them off is that we do not have enough distance from them, and thus see their various relationships to other aspects of the modern world.