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Maya - divide and join polygon mesh

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How do I split the earth (a sphere) into 2 seperate hemisphere objects so that they can be textured, transformed, etc. seperately? Also, How do you join 2 objects to make 1 object? Here is what I tryed:
To physically separate pieces of your model into separate objects, if polygonal (Polygon Menu set), in Face mode select only the faces you want to separate, then select Mesh/Extract. .
This is exactly what I tryed. I ended up with a polyChipOff1 node, that does not behave as if it was its own mesh. In attribute editor it appears as pPolySphereShape1->polyChipOff1->polySphere1->initialShadingGroup->lambert1 I cannot select the extracted part when I use the filter “Select by Hierarchy and Combination"->root or “Select by Hierarchy and Combination"->leaf or “Select by Hierarchy and Combination"->template If I click anywhere on the sphere it selects the entire sphere Additionally, the only thing that shows up in hypergraph is the pSphere1 I am using Maya 6.0.1 btw. I haven’t been able to afford to shell out another 2k for the new version yet, not enough time has passed since my last purchase. I hope the interface is still similar. video of my failed attempt

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