Merging dense mesh .obj into single mesh + keeping texture mapping

Hi all!

I’ve got a .obj w/ texture I’m using to create this ‘planet of faces’. Ideally, I’d end up with one object that I could then make duplicates of, deform, or even give different textures too, use the face as basis for some kind of landscape/topology etc. Fresh to blender so I have a few issues I’m struggling with!

  1. How to merge these duplicate faces in a way where the the edges softly roll into each other? Or would this just result in texture mapping nightmare?

  2. I tried the Boolean function… but the texture from the .obj would disappear… is it possible to merge .obj but keep textures in place?

3… It seems it would make sense to simplify this .obj mesh… it’s maybe unnecessarily dense. But tried the ‘decimate’ modifier and nothing would happen. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, or does this not work with an imported object like this?

Your thoughts appreciated!