Watermelon is awesome — we all know that. I’ve written in the past about how the Japanese love watermelon so much that they give it away as gifts and display expensive square watermelons in their homes as decorations.

They’re not the only ones who appreciate the gesture of a good watermelon. It’s customary for Russian cosmonauts to also receive watermelon (among other fruits) after missions in outer space. Above is cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev being showered with fruit in September after returning to Earth from a five-and-a-half month space mission.

If it sounds like a pretty underwhelming gift for someone who spent half a year in a weightless environment, you’d be right, but the fruit has practical benefits, too. After six months of dining on rehydrated astronaut food, even something as ordinary as a watermelon can be a pretty awesome treat.

I can relate, too. I’ve never spent six months in outer space, but I did serve in the Navy on board a nuclear submarine. We’d often spend six months or more at sea, and while our dining options were slightly better than an astronaut’s (although that’s debatable), we also didn’t have the luxuries of fresh watermelon during our voyages under the sea.

When we finally returned to our home port, things like a bowl of ice cream, a fast food burger and a slice of watermelon were like a meal in a four-star restaurant. So, welcome back, Mr. Russian Cosmonaut, and enjoy that watermelon!

UP NEXT: A Thanksgiving drink the kids will love

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