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Dec10-11, 11:10 AM
P: 5,632
Hi lowemack..

Instead of saying 'mass' increases'' let's instead say 'energy'...that is, their kinetic energy appears to increase as observed from earth....but that is illusory since neither spaceship observes such an increase. They see earth's KE as increasing not their own.

So who is right...well, they all are because they have different reference frames. So that alone won't tell us what's going on. Such comparisons can be confusing.

Peter's comment is the key:

The "amount of gravity produced by an object" is frame-invariant; it doesn't matter what your state of motion is relative to the object.
That results from the mathematics of is NOT obvious.

Another way to remember this:
Any situation where you ask about a rapidly moving massive body's gravitational effect and a 'stationary' observer can be transformed to an equivalent question about the interaction between a rapidly moving observer a 'stationary' massive body. So all observations relating to a rapidly moving massive body can be answered as if the body is if all measures are local. Local measures trump distant measures.

I think this would also be accurate: (any experts??)

If the spaceships have accelerated at the same rate together for the same time as they travel, they remain stationary relative to each other, their gravitational attraction remains as if they were stationary....But if one temporarily rockets ahead faster, for example, and remains ahead, now there has been relative motion between them, kinetic energy is observed for this period, and so they would have somewhat different gravitational attractions...and their paths would now vary for future travel.....gravitational curvature IS affected. And their recorded elapsed times would also differ were they to later come together and compare elapsed times.