Of primary cosmic rays, which originate outside of Earth’s atmosphere, about 99% are the nuclei of well-known atoms (stripped of their electron shells), and about 1% are solitary electrons (similar to beta particles). Of the nuclei, about 90% are simple protons (i. e. , hydrogen nuclei); 9% are alpha particles, identical to helium nuclei; and 1% are the nuclei of heavier elements, called HZE ions. These fractions vary highly over the energy range of cosmic rays. A very small fraction are stable particles of antimatter, such as positrons or antiprotons. The precise nature of this remaining fraction is an area of active research. An active search from Earth orbit for anti-alpha particles has failed to detect them.