In the special, which airs Sunday, former FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry investigates new evidence behind Earhart's disappearance.
"This absolutely changes history", Henry told People.
Some experts claim the image shows the pioneering aviator, her airplane and Noonan in the Marshall Islands in 1937.
New evidence from US government archives suggests Earhart may have crashed in the Marshall Islands, and was captured by the Japanese military where she died while being held prisoner, the History Channel reports. "If the government knew they had her to begin with it makes you wonder why they didn't do anything or say anything, what were the politics of the era?"
The new piece of evidence indicates that Earhart and Noonan were blown off course but survived the crash, investigators said.
Cochrane said that she preferred to believe that Earhart had died quickly rather than spend her life captured by the Japanese. She was declared dead in 1939 and the US determined that she'd crashed over the Pacific. But after she lost contact with the coast guard, she went missing and was declared dead two years later, though her remains were never found. They said the photo was likely taken by a spy who was later executed by Japan.
She was last heard from in July of that year, flying over the Pacific Ocean.
In fact, Shawn Henry, an NBC News analyst who spent time as the executive assistant director for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said that the photo shows Earhart.
They hypothesize that Earhart veered away from Howland Island, crash-landed on the Marshall Islands and was then taken captive by Japanese forces. Did she crash into the ocean, as the US government concluded long ago?
In the photo, you can see reportedly Earhart with her back to the camera and Fred Noonan, her navigator, all the way to the left. That's why I know that she's a woman. A man, pictured standing near her, looks like Earhart's navigator, Fred Noonan.
Also, the more substantive evidence comes from the alleged Noonan appearance in the photo - showing a receding hairline and similar features, NBC News writes.
The man in the foreground has the same hairline and prominent nose as Noonan's.