Firstly let me explain that I'm a physics newbie, but interested in all things gravity at the moment!
My question relates to some of my understanding of Einstein's general relativity. This is just from my personal reading, I'm not in any kind of academia (and probably too old to start!).
There are a couple of key concepts that seems to contradict themselves.
Firstly, I understand that energy and mass are the same things. And also that gravity is really the distortion of spacetime caused by the presence of mass, and the latent energy therein. So it follows, that energy should also distort spacetime and cause us to observe gravity. Other forums I've read seem to confirm this.
My first question is - this being the case, what form of non-latent energy could be used to prove this?
Secondly, from reading other forums, it's been speculated that enormous amounts of energy would be required for a measurable amount of gravity to be observed if the above assumption about energy creating gravity is true. This is because (as I understand it) the latent energy in mass is huge, so therefore in pure energy form, the equivalent amount of energy would also be huge to create a measurable distortion in spacetime to observe gravity - right?
This seems to contradict Einstein's principle that gravity and acceleration are also the same things. By that I mean, Einstein said that a person in a closed box, being accelerated in space, would have no way of proving (or disproving) whether the were being accelerated or were in fact at rest e.g. on the planet Earth. This is because acceleration and gravity are the same things.
So my second question is: Surely it follows that the amount of energy required to accelerate a person in space e.g at the equivalent of 1g Earth gravity, is the same amount of energy that would be required to simulate the equivalent amount of gravity using energy instead?
I'm clearly missing something. My ultimate question is trying to understand how realistic it is theoretically to have artificial gravity, using energy as a source to warp spacetime, and whether the amount of energy required is already a fundamental blocker or not.
Many thanks for any insight and I hope I've been clear. It's a very interesting topic!