I'd like to get some conceptual clarification on whether or not length contraction is only apparent to an observer or if it's physically real in the sense that the object under contraction would experience compressive forces? My thinking on this has been along the lines of: I know that time dilation is objectively real given atomic clock experiments, etc. so the associated length contraction must also be objectively real and I'm thinking that means compressive forces would result. Possibly these forces could be large enough to be destructive. On the other hand, I try to imagine the perspective of the astronaut in their almost-light-speed-spacecraft and I can't convince myself that the length contraction is real from their perspective. Any clarification would be helpful. I indicated a basic level for this question because I'm learning this in my spare time and only just getting started on the actual math. Thanks!